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By John Wilcox 




Prtnted tn U.S A by 


To N. K. W. 


TiyTY ATTENTION was first drawn to the subject of this 
JLVJL volume when I observed the collision of opinion in two 
studies that appeared at almost the same time: namely, D. H. 
Miles's The Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy (1910), 
and John Palmer's The Comedy of Manners (1913). My subse- 
quent survey of earlier opinions revealed the fact that the conflict 
had gradually developed during the last hundred years. By the 
end of the nineteenth century, students of sources had found so 
many parallels that their labors culminated in the assertion that 
Restoration comedy was essentially a child of France. But all 
this evidence did not disturb the adherents of a contrary opinion, 
which has been reappearing ever since Dryden asserted it, that 
what Restoration comedy got from abroad lost all Gallic accent 
when it appeared on the English stage. Meanwhile, disgusted 
with the standards of Wycherley and Congreve, a third group 
declared that their comedy must surely have come from the 
French, because it is so immoral Y^a^Jouitl^g^ 
that this^ cannot^ be true, because the English plays ae.,SQ inde- 
cent. Challenged by this confusion, I undertook. the hazardous 
task of maintaining a sound and consistent judgment in a field 
where the evidence had already produced a large body of con- 
tradictory conclusions. 

Obviously the same evidence could not lead different people 
to opposite conclusions except by faulty logic. Perhaps there 
would be more chance of reaching the truth if I gave considera- 
tion to an a priori logic of sources and influences. What consti- 
tutes proof that one author has borrowed from another? How 


could I set a standard sufficiently objective to keep me from 
merely selecting as fact what I found agreeable to believe ? What 
is a literary influence? How can it be recognized? If influences 
vary in significance, how can these variations be determined, 
compared, contrasted? Conceding the intangibility of the basic 
facts and the subjectivity of the conclusions, I nevertheless tried 
to develop a system for guiding my judgments. This method, 
which I have described in Chapter II, is not exactly my inven- 
tion; it is rather my attempt to make usefully explicit the proc- 
esses that I think are instinctive with the best thinkers and 
implicit in sound scholarship. 

The book has been developed by applying this method to the 
study of the primary materials. In it I undertake to find which 
Restoration plays contain borrowings from Moliere, to tell the 
nature and the extent of these borrowings, and then to arrive at 
a just estimate of his influence on Restoration writers individu- 
ally and on their comedy as a type. 

To eliminate vexing irregularities in the exact form of Restora- 
tion play titles, I have modernized them, except in Appendix B. 
There I have followed the "Handlist of Restoration Plays" found 
in the latest edition of A History of Restoration Drama, 1660- 
1700, by Allardyce Nicoll, who reproduces original spelling, punc- 
tuation, and capitalization. The dates I have attached to Res- 
toration plays, giving the time of first acting as nearly as it 
can be ascertained, are derived from the same authoritative com- 

I am under obligation to several persons for assistance with 
details of form and style, most notably my wife. I wish to thank 
Professors Oscar James Campbell of Columbia University, Robert 
W. Babcock of Wayne University, and J. Paul Stoakes of Mar- 
shall College for their useful suggestions. Finally I am glad to 
declare my gratitude to Professor Paul Mueschke of the Univer- 
sity of Michigan. From the time this study was first contemplated, 


he has aided me at every turn. With endless patience he has read 
and discussed outlines, preliminary drafts, and tentative conclu- 
sions. My debt to him is incalculable. 

February i, 1938 


i. The Background i 

ii. The Method . 18 

in. Illustrative Adaptations of Moliere 35 

iv. Sir George Etherege 70 

v. William Wycherley 82 

vi. John Dryden and Thomas Shadwell 105 

vii. The Minor Borrowers ... 127 

vin. Cpngreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar 154 

ix. The Borrowings against the Background 178 

x. Conclusion ... . . , . .192 


A. The Chronology of Moliere . . . 203 

B. Chronological List of Restoration Comedies . 205 

BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . .217 

INDEX .... 229 


DURING the first five years of the Parisian career of Jean- 
Baptiste Poquelin, dit Moliere, the English began to borrow 
from his wealth of dramatic substance to deck their newly lighted 
stages. 1 After John Dryden scored his first success with Sir Martin 
Mar-All, or the feigned Innocence (August, 1667), for which he 
had taken essential elements from the sensational French actor- 
playwright,! Moliere was plundered on every hand. Fifteen 
authors were mentioned during their own age as borrowers from 
him: Aphra Behn, Thomas Betterton, John Caryl, John Crowne, 
William D'Avenant, John Dryden, Richard Flecknoe, John 
Lacy, Matthew Medbourne, Thomas Otway, Thomas Rawlins, 
Edward Ravenscroft, Charles Sedley, Thomas Shadwell, and 
William Wycherley. When Gerard Langbaine, "the great detector 
of plagiarism," 3 wrote his handbook in 1691, he reported use of 
material from Moliere in twenty-five plays of the period. 4 

1 The reader will recall that Mohere's Parisian period began late in 1658. Everyone 
agrees that Sir William D'Avenant's unimportant The Playhouse to Be Let (c. August, 
1663) is the first Restoration play to employ material from him. 

2 Discussion of this borrowing is found below in Chap. III. 

3 Samuel Johnson's phrase. "Otway," m Lives of the English Poets, ed. by Hill, I, 242. 

4 Account of the English Dramatic^ Poets. Langbaine pointed out the following 

Mrs Behn's The False Count. Les Precieuses ridicules (p 20); 

Sir Patient Fancy: Le Maldde imaginaire (p. 21). 

Betterton's [The Amorous Widow] . Les Precieuses ridicules (p. 445). 
Caryl's Sir Salomon, or the Cautious Coxcomb V&cole des femmes (p. 549). 
Crowne's The Country Wit: Le Sicihen ou I' amour peintre (p. 94), 

Sir Courtly Nice Les Precieuses ridicules (p 97). 

D'Avenant's The Playhouse 1 to Be Let: Le Cocu imaginaire (p. no). 
Dryden's Amphitryon: Amphitryon (second page of Appendix); 

An Evening's Love, or the Mock Astrologer: Le Depit amoureux and Les 

Precieuses ridicules (p. 131 and p. 163); 

Sir Martin Mar- All: Vttourdt (p. 170). 


The authors who made these "thefts" took various attitudes. 
Some acknowledged the debt openly; for example, in the epilogue 
to John Caryl's Sir Salomon, or the Cautious Coxcomb, which 
was probably staged in 1669 and certainly printed in 1671, one 

What we have brought before you, was not meant 

For a new Play, but a new President; 

For we with Modesty our Theft avow, 

(There is some Conscience shewn in stealing too) 

And openly declare, that if our Cheer 

Does hit your Pallats, you must thank Molliere: 

Molhere, the famous Shal^espear of this Age, 

Both when he Writes, and when he treads the Stage. 8 

Some made slight attempts to conceal their borrowings. Some 
offered explanations: Aphra Behn pleaded haste; 6 Shadwell, 
laziness; 7 Dryden, that he worked his borrowed matter over so 
thoroughly that it was really his own; 8 and Wycherley merely 
ridiculed those authors who had an "Itch of being thought Origi- 

Flecknoe's The Damoiselles a la Mode: Les Precieuses ndiculcs, Utcolc des femmes t 

and L'tcole des mans (p. 201). 

Lacy's The Dumb Lady Le Medecin malgre lut (p 318). 
Medbourne's Tartu ffe- Le Tartuffe (p. 367). 
Otway's The Cheats of Scapin: "from a French Comedy of Molliere" [i.e., Les Four- 

benes dc Scaptn] (p. 397). 
Ravenscroft's The Careless Lovers M. de Pourceaugnac (p. 419); 

The London Cuckolds: L'ficolc des femmes (p. 421); 

Mamamoucht: M. de Pourceaugnac and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme (p. 422); 

Scaramouch: Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme and Le Manage force (p. 423). 

Rawhns* Tom Essence: Le Cocu imagtnatre (p. 552). 

Sedley's The Mulberry Garden: L'tcole des mans (p. 487). [Merely notes resemblance.] 

Shad well's Bury Fair- Les Precieuses ndiculcs (p. 445); 

The Libertine: "VAthce Foudroye" [i.e., Don Juan] (p. 448); 

The Miser: L'Avarc (p. 449); 

The Sullen Lovers Les Fdcheux (p. 451), 

Wycherley's The Plain Dealer: Le Misanthrope (p. 515). 

In all he cites eighteen plays of Mohere, five of them more than once. 
5 [John Caryl], Sir Salomon, or the Cautious Coxcomb (London, 1671), p. [102], 
6 Langbaine, op. cit. t p 18. 

7 See the preface to The Miser, in Works of Shadwell (1720), Vol. III. 

8 Dramatic Worfy of Dryden, ed. by Scott-Samtsbury, III, 249-53. 


nals." 9 Langbaine generally defended the English authors whose 
plagiarisms he so diligently traced, because he thought they im- 
proved what they took; the only exception of importance was 
Dryden, whom he attacked with evident gusto. 10 Some forty 
years later, when Voltaire visited England, he sent back the 
contrary opinion, "Les Anglais ont pris, ont deguise, ont gate la 
plupart des pieces de Moliere." 11 But the idea that Moliere's 
influence and example was an important contribution to Restora- 
tion comedy was not voiced before 

9 Posthumous Works of William Wycherley (1728), Part I, p. 3. 

10 Op. at., pp. 130-77- 

11 "Sur la comedie," Lettres stir les Anglais, 1734, in Oeuvres Completes de Voltaire, 
V, 34- 

12 As in Langbaine, in the histories of the English stage down to John Genest, Some 
Account of the English Stage (1832), references to Mohere are made as separate inci- 
dental notes on specific plays, free from conclusions about French influence or impressions 
that it was preeminent. Langbaine was the chief observer of likenesses between Mohere 
and Restoration plays. The rest were generally content to repeat his discoveries with 
modifications, some of which are intelligent additions, others apparently careless omissions. 

[Charles Gildon], Lives and Characters of the English Dramatic^ Poets (1699), 
softens the asperities of Langbame's remarks. 

[Giles Jacob], Poetical Register (1723), II, 292-95, writes a note on Mohere and 
tabulates his plays. After each play he lists the titles of English dramas which have 
borrowed from it. This matter is essentially a repetition of Langbame's findings brought 
down to date. For the Restoration period he makes three additions to Langbaine; 
viz : Ravenscroft's Wrangling Lovers' Le Depit amoureux; Betterton's The Amorous 
Widow George Dandin; and Wright's Female Vertuosoes: Les Femmes savantes. He 
also ascribes Cartel's [i.e., Caryl's] Sir Salomon to L'tcole des mans, but this is surely 
a misprint for L'tcolc des femmes, which was mentioned by Langbaine. Jacob shows a 
livelier interest in the evidence than any of the others between Langbaine and Genest. 

Lives of the Poets by "Mr. [Theophilus] Gibber and other Hands" (1753) sup- 
presses and softens some of Langbame's "plagiarisms," but does not add any. 

David [Erskine] Baker, Companion to the Playhouse (1764) repeats the informa- 
tion in Jacob, adding the fact that Wycherley's The Country Wife is based on L'tcole 
des femmes, which had been noted earlier by Voltaire in "Sur la comedie," op. at., 

V, 34- 

Mr. [Charles] Dibdin, Complete History of the English Stage [1800], does not 
retain all the earlier citations; for example, he dismisses Ravenscroft with such con- 
tempt, IV, 204, that Moliere is not mentioned. 

Genest seems to have added the unimportant Penkethman's Love without Interest 
as derived from Le Manage force, op. cit., II, 164. But he drops several, Mrs. Behn's 
The False Count, Flecknoe's Damoisclles a la Mode, and Ravenscroft's London Cuckolds. 
He is the first one after Langbaine to discuss any of the similarities between English 
plays and Moliere with enough detail to suggest that he had made the comparisons 
himself. For example, compare Langbaine, op, /., p. 419, with Genest, op. at., I, 


Critics of the Romantic period and their early Victorian suc- 
cessors seemed to find the contrasts between Restoration comedy 
and Moliere more significant than the resemblances. Often they 
saw no reason to mention Moliere when they were discussing 
plays in which they knew there were elements borrowed from 
him. In his Life of Dryden (1806), Sir Walter Scott admitted 
French influence in Restoration comedy except in its "scenes of 
coarse and naked indelicacy" and except in its structure, which 
he found more like Spanish drama. A few years later he spe- 
cifically denied French influence on comic form. 18 William 
Hazlitt spoke discriminatingly about the borrowings of Wycher- 
ley and Vanbrugh from Moliere, without ascribing very much 
to the source. 14 Henry Hallam agreed with Scott that the "French 
theatre ... guided the criticism of Charles's court," although he 
ascribed the coarse tone of the comedies to "the state of society 
itself." 16 Leigh Hunt was obviously aware of French material 
in some of the plays he edited, but he never suggested French 
sources as a major factor in the comic art of the Restoration. 16 
T. B. Macaulay said, when speaking of the tone of the plays 
written during the Restoration: 

In these changes it is impossible not to recognize the influence of 
French precept and of French example. ... It would have been well if 
our writers had also copied the decorum [of the French] Our thea- 
tre was indebted in that age for many plots and characters to Spain, to 

18 See Scott-Samtsbury edition of Dramatic Worlds of Dryden, I, 62-63. In his 
"Essay on the Drama," first published m the supplement to the Encyclopedia Brttanmca, 
1819, Scott mentions Moliere only once, and then in reference to a single Restoration 
play. He says unequivocally, "[The comic poets of the Restoration made] great im- 
provement ... in point of art ... They did not, however, so far surrender the liberties 
and immunities of their predecessors, as to receive laws from the French critics." The 
essay is reprinted in Prose Worfc of Sir Walter Scott, VI, 364. 

14 "Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar," Lectures on the English Comic 
Writers (1819), Lecture IV, pp. 133-76. 

^Introduction to the Literature of Europe (1837-39), IV, 481-96. 

18 Hunt, ed., Dramatic Works of Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar 


France, and to the old English masters: but whatever our dramatists 
touched they tainted. 17 

By the middle of the nineteenth century Restoration comedies 
had long since disappeared from the English stage, and most 
Victorians seem to have followed Macaulay's advice not to read 
them. In the absence of information, false generalizations are 
likely to pass unchallenged; often they develop into assump- 
tions that plague later scholarship. For example, Thackeray gave 
a most striking expression to the traditional tendency to blame 
the French for anything of questionable morality. In this case he 
ignored the evidence completely, but who knew the plays well 
enough to denounce the judgment? In writing about Congreve, 
he said: 

How can I introduce to you that merry and shameless Comic Muse 
who won him such a reputation? Nell Gwynn's servant fought the 
other footmen for having called his mistress bad names; and in like 
manner, and with pretty like epithets, Jeremy Collier attacked that 
godless, reckless Jezebel, the English comedy of this time, and called 
her what Nell Gwynn's man's fellow-servants called Nell Gwynn's 
man's mistress the servants of the theatre, Dryden, Congreve, and 
others, defended themselves with the same success, and for the same 
cause which set Nell's lackey fighting. She was a disreputable, daring, 
laughing, painted French baggage, that Comic Muse. She came over 
from the continent with Charles (who chose many more of his female 
friends there) at the Restoration a wild, dishevelled Lais, with eyes 
bright with wit and wine a saucy court-favourite that sate at the 
King's knees, and laughed in his face, and when she showed her bold 
cheeks at her chariot-window, had some of the noblest and most famous 
people of the land bowing round her wheel. She was kind and popular 
enough, that daring Comedy, that audacious poor Nell she was gay 
and generous, kind, frank, as such people can afford to be: and the 
men who lived with her and laughed with her, took her pay and drank 
her wine, turned out when the Puritans hooted her, to fight and de- 

17 Histoty of England (1849), I, 370-74. 


fend her. But the jade was indefensible, and it is pretty certain her 
servants knew it. 18 

The reader of Thackeray's time would accept this statement 
and associate it with a host of other evidences of French influence 
on Restoration England. He knew that Charles the Second's 
mother was French, that he spent much of his exile within Gallic 
borders, and that he even drew a pension from Louis XIV. He 
was told that Charles derived his manners, his fashions, his levity, 
and his immorality from France. It was generally known that, as 
the Golden Age of Louis XIV developed, the English did bring 
from France literary doctrines, models, and materials. The plays 
of Corneille and Racine had enjoyed an extensive vogue on the 
English stage during the period of the Restoration, and were 
known to have exerted great force in the development of English 
neoclassic tragedy, French romance d'Urfe's? UAstree, de la 
Calprenede's Cttopcltre, Cassandre, and Pharamond, de Scudery's 
Le Grand Cyrus, CUlic, and Almahide, to mention the examples 
most heard of had left indelible imprint on the substance and 
style of heroic drama, almost concealing the possibility that it 
could be descended from Jacobean dramatic styles. So the time 
was ripe for the sweeping dictum that Moliere was the most sig- 
nificant influence on English comedy during the Restoration. This 
opinion was given by the manuals, 19 from which one could read, 
for example, that "With the Restoration of Charles II, begins the 
period of French influence upon English literature, an influence 
that was not effectually broken until the time of the French 
Revolution," 20 a general statement, which may be vaguely true, 
but which certainly leads to an unproved assumption when ap- 

18 "Congreve and Addison," m English Humourists (1853), PP- 57"58- 

19 Conventional literary opinions may be advantageously sought in manuals and 
textbooks for, in their efforts at brevity and simplicity, such works lack the discrimina- 
tions and qualifications that characterize those of broader scope and of more original 

20 Morley, Manual of English Literature, rev. by Taylor (1879), p. 399. 


plied to the comic drama. Another textbook made the application 
with the specific declaration that during the Restoration "In 
comedy ... a new school arose, of which the tone and form may 
certainly be traced to the unrivalled genius of Moliere." 21 Thus 
during the very time when most critics were too little interested 
in Restoration comedy to read it, the assumption developed and 
grew into a literary commonplace. 

Encouraged perhaps by the desire to praise Moliere, scholarly 
studies began to marshall specific evidence with which to sup- 
port and expand the common view. The first important publi- 
cation of this latter sort came in 1875. Henri Van Laun, a 
schoolmaster of French at Edinburgh and the translator of Taine, 
published a translation of Moliere with references to English 
"plagiarisms" in extensive appendices. 22 He brought Congreve 
and Farquhar into the discussion for the first time, added seven 
new plays to the list, and alleged twenty-one new borrowings. 23 
The introduction of Congreve's name among the imitators of 
Moliere is especially significant. 24 Hitherto the lists of borrowers 

21 Arnold, Manual of English Literature, American ed. rev. (1876), p. 199. 

22 Dramatic Worlds of Moliere Rendered into English. The citations are repeated in 
"Les Plagiaires des Moliere/' Le Mohenste, II (i 880-81), 143-49, 235-40, 303-7, and 
III (1881-82), 52-62, 137-46. 

23 These figures are based upon the Langbame list, as it was modified by critics 
from his time until Genest's (see notes 4 and 12 above). Van Laun's additions are 
as follows: 

Mrs. Behn's Sir Patient Fancy: L' Amour medecin. 

Congreve's Love for Love: Don Juan, Le Misanthrope, L'Avare; 

The Way of the World- Le Misanthrope. 

Crowne's Country Wit: Amphitryon, La Comtesse d'Escarbagnas, M. de Pourceaugnac. 

Farquhar's Love and a Bottle' Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. 

Flecknoe's Damoiselles a la Mode: Le Cocu imaginaire. 

Otway's The Soldier's Fortune- Le Cocu imaginaire, L'tcolc des mans, L'tcole des 

femmes, Les Precieuses ridicules. 
Ravcnscroft's Canterbury Quests [sic, i.e, Guests], M. de Pourceaugnac; 

Scaramouch: Les Fourbenes de Scapin. 

Shadwell's Sullen Lovers: Le Misanthrope, Le Manage force. 
Wycherley's The Gentleman Dancing Master- l'cole des maris, 
The Plain Dealer: La Critique de I'ecole des femmes. 

24 1 do not undertake to settle the minor issue of exactly which scholar brought 
the name of Congreve into this question for the first time, but I have not found 
any clear mention very much prior to Van Laun For example, Claas Humbert, who 


had included none of those who had written the finest comedies 
of manners except Wycherley. A little later Sir Edmund Gosse 
advanced Sir George Etherege as the first author of a comedy in 
the manner that culminated in Congreve and as the first Res- 
toration author to understand and imitate Moliere, 25 A German 
dissertation soon amplified Wycherley's generally admitted use 
of him. 26 Another dissertation then said Dryden had borrowed 
from him in five plays in addition to tfye three originally named 
by Langbaine, 27 The general relation of Moliere to Restoration 
comedy was more conservatively outlined, however, in Hart- 
mann's statement: 

had staunchly defended Moliere as a comic dramatist from what he considered dis- 
paragement by Shakespeare idolaters (see Moliere, Shakespeare, und die deutsche 
Kntik. 1869), in 1874 wrote (Moliere in England, p. 8): "Aus dem 17. Jahrhundert sind 
mir keme enghschen Urtheile iaber Moliere bekannt geworden, aus dem achtzehnten 
nur zwei. Wie sehr er aber gerade damals in England bewundert wurde, zeigen die 
vielen Bearbeitungen und Uebersetzungen Mohenscher Stucke, sowie der Einfluss, 
welchen er auf die englische Comodie ausiibte. Die grossten Lustspieldichter und 
komischen Schnftsteller jener Zeit suchten cine Ehre darin, vollstandige Werke von 
ihm oder Bruchstiicke aus denselben auf ihre Buhne zu verpflanzen. Spater wird von 
den einzelnen Comodien insbesondere die Rede sein, und da mogen jene Uebersetzungen, 
Bearbeitungen und Nachahmungen cine Stelle finden. Hier genuge die Bemerkung, dass 
Manner, wie Dryden, Otway, Wicherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh, Gibber, Foote, und 
vor Aliem der grosse Fielding und Sheridan unter diesen Schulern." 

25 "Sir George Etheredge. A Neglected Chapter ot English Literature," The Corn- 
hill Magazine, XLIII (1881). Reprinted in his Seventeenth Century Studies (1883). 
Gosse found Etheregc's specific borrowings to be as follows: 

The Comical Revenge: L'&ourdi, Le Depit amourettx, and Les Precieuses ridicules; 

She Would If She Could: Tartuffe. 

He dallies with the idea that The Man of Mode might have borrowed from Les 
Precieuses ridicules, but does not assert it clearly. 

26 Klette, William Wycherley's Leben und dramatischc Werfy (1883), added to 
previous allegations of borrowings the following: 

Love in a Wood: L'&ole des mans, and L'tcolc des femmes; 

The Gentleman Dancing Master: Utcole des femmes; 

The Country Wife- L'tcolc des mans, Le Tartuffe, and Vlmpromptu de Versailles. 

27 Hartmann, Einfluss Mohere's auf Dryden's kpmisch-dramatische Dichtungen (1885). 
His list of borrowings adds the following to Langbame's (sec note 4 above): 

An Evening's Love: L'ficolc <des mans; 

The Assignation: L'fitourdi, Tartuffe, 

Umber ham. Les fdcheux, Tartuffe, 

Love Tnumphanf (tragicomedy): M. de Pourccaugnac, 

Marriage a la Mode (tragicomedy) : Les Prccieuses ridicules f L'tcole des mans, Le 
'Bourgeois Gentilhomme; 

The Spanish Friar (tragicomedy): Le Cocu imaginaire. 


Dieser tiefere Gehalt, dcr dem franzosischen Lustspiel und vorziig- 
lich dem Moliere's erst die rechte Weihe verlieh, ging bei der Nachah- 
mung seitens der englischen Dichter durchaus nicht mit in das 
englische Lustspiel iiber. Man wandte sich zu den Franzosen und 
speciell zu Moliere, nicht weil man die eigne Biihne au cine hohere 
Stufe der Kunst zu bringen bestrebt war, sondern weil die Werke der 
franzosischen Dichter einen reichen Schatz neuen Stoffes boten, urn 
den man in dieser Zeit der Schnell- und Massenproduktion, welche die 
Biihne forderte, oft verlegen war. 28 

When Gosse wrote his Life of William Congreve, he ignored 
Van Laun's findings on Love -for Love, but added some others 
for himself. 30 He turned up a few vague parallels which he ad- 
vanced as foundation for an asserted influence. He resisted any 
temptation to believe, as his thesis would urge him to do, that 
all the resemblances were specific borrowings; but someone is 
always ready to perform that doubtful service: simultaneously 
and independently, Dr. Alexander Bennewitz produced a dis- 
sertation with plenty of such assertions. Congreve, he said, had 
simply adopted Moliere's characters and plots wholesale. 31 In 
The Old Bachelor, which Gosse said offered "no positive evi- 
dence of the study of Moliere," Bennewitz found that twelve of 
Moliere's plays had been used! In The Double Dealer, he found 
four to add to Gosse's three. In Love for Love and The Way of 
the World, where Gosse found no precise parallels, Bennewitz 
cited borrowings from fourteen plays of Moliere's, from some 
of the plays many times. 82 Another dissertation added Wycher- 

28 Ibid., p. 6. 

20 In English Men of Letters Series, 1888, rev., 1924 

80 The Double Dealer "has some vague analogy with Tartuffe" (ibid, p. 53). 
Le Misanthrope and Les Femmes savantes are also named as sources for elements of 
the play (ibid., pp. 54-55) None of these judgments are altered in the revised edition 
of 1924 See pp. 42-43 of the later edition. 

^Moliere's Einfluss auf Congreve (1889), p. 13: ". ..unserer Behauptung Moherc 
ist Quelle fur Congrevc." 

82 Bennewitz's list of alleged borrowings follows: 

The Old Batchelor* Le Manage force, Don Juan, Le Misanthrope, L'tcole des 
marts, L'tcole des fcmmes, M. de Pourceaugnac, George Dandin, Les Fourbenes de 


ley's The Country Wife and Congreve's The Double Dealer to 
the list of plays influenced by Le Misanthrope. Still another 
brought Shadwell's Bury Fair under the influence of Les Femmes 
savantes?* Thus specialists in source studies kept reporting more 
and more parallels between Moliere and Restoration comedy, 
many of which are doubtless "like the geometrical sort, in that 
though followed back to infinity they never meet." 85 

During this very time a few critics and scholars steadily reiter- 
ated the essential independence of Restoration comedy. In his 
histroy of English literature (1864), Hippolyte Taine took the 
position outlined previously by Macaulay. "Ce theatre [la comedie 
de la Restauration] . . . se forme en meme temps que celui de 
Moliere . . . et d'apres lui." S6 Despite French influences, the brutal 3T 
Englishman cannot keep up with the taste of the refined French: 

La comedie fran^aise devient un modele, comme la politesse franjaise. 

On les copie Tune et Tautre en les alterant, sans les egaler L'Angle- 

terre la [France] suit dans cette voie . . . mais a distance, et tiree de 
cote par ses inclinations nationales. 38 

He borrows only to degrade: 

Scapin, Les Preaeuses ridicules, Les Femmes savantes, Le Deptt amoureux, L'ttourdt, La 
Pnncesse d'tlide (ibid., pp. 23-24). 

The Double Dealer. Tartuffe, Les Femmes savantes, Les Precteuses ridicules, Les 
Fourbenes de Scapin, M. de Pourceaugnac, George Dandtn, L'ficole des femmes 
(ibid., pp. 26-44). 

Love for Love' L'Avare, Le Misanthrope, Les Amants magmfiques, Les Facheux, 
L'tcole des femmes, Utcole des mans, Don Juan, M. de Pourceaugnac, Le Malade 
imaginaire, Tartufe, Le Misanthrope, Uttourdi, Les Fourbenes de Scaptn (ibid,, p. 76). 

The Way of the World: L'ficote des femmes, M, de Pourceaugnac, Le Misanthrope, 
La Comtesse 'd'Escarbagnas, Le Malade imaginaire (tbid., pp 79-88). 

Inadcntally> this was all competently deflated less than ten years later by Schmidt 
(William Congreve, sein Leben und seine Lustspiele). 

38 Ferchlandt, Moliere 's Misanthrop und seine englischen Nachahmungen (1907). 

8 *Heincmann, Shadwcll-Studien (1907), pp. 71-105, It had been previously assigned 
to the influence of Les Precteuses ridicules only. 

85 1 borrow the quip from Lucas, Seneca and Elizabethan Tragedy, p. 118. 

**Histoire de la htterature anglaise, III, 99. 

8T "Si on gratte la morale qui sen d'enveloppe [en Angleterre], la brute apparait 
dans sa violence et sa laideur" (ibid., Ill, 13). 

**lbid., HI, pp. 97-98. 


Si Wycherley emprunte a quelque ecrivain un personnage, c'est pour 
le violenter ou le degrader jusqu'au niveau des siens ---- S'il invente 
une fille presque honnete, Hippolyta, il commence par lui mettre dans 
la bouche des parolles telles qu'on n'en peut rien transcrire. 89 

To the earlier critical opinion of Scott, Leigh Hunt, Macaulay, 
and Taine that French influence did not go very far in explaining 
why Restoration comedy was what it was, Alexandre Beljame, 
A. W. Ward, and Louis Charlanne gave essential assent. All 
these readily conceded the extensive use of material from Moliere, 
but when reading him in comparison with Restoration comedy, 
they found such differences that they did not see how the bor- 
rowings could account for what the English authors wrote. 40 
There remained, in short, a conflict between myopic specialists 
in source studies and the broader-viewed readers like Ward and 

The need of a comprehensive study of the problem as a whole 
was evident, and several works appeared as though in answer to 
this need. The first two of these have won almost no other notice 
than a casual mention in bibliographies. 41 They have made no 
significant addition to our knowledge of the problem and do 
not solve the critical difficulties. 42 In 1910 however Dudley H. 

d., m, 53-54. 

40 Beljame, Le Public ct le$ homines de lettres en Anglcterrc au dix-huitieme siecle 
(1883), describes Restoration comedy (pp. 48-56), without reference to Moliere, "car 
tout se modelait sur leurs gouts." 

Ward, English Dramatic Literature (1875, II, 477), says, "Moliere was copied by 
our English dramatists more unscrupulously than probably any other writer has been 
copied before or since; but neither his spirit nor his manner descended to his copyists." 
Writing simultaneously with Van Laun, he assembled the evidence of borrowing 
substantially in accord with Langbaine and Genest. His critical interpretation and the 
list of borrowings were repeated in the revised edition of 1899 (III, 315 n, 318), 
with a slight verbal shift and the addition of two or three borrowings. 

Charlanne, L' 'Influence francaise en Angleterre au xvii* siecle (1906) almost copies 
Ward's words in his summary (p. 372): "En sommc, il ne passe presque ncn de 
1' esprit et de la maniere de Moliere chez les comiques anglais." 

41 Harvey-Jellie, Les Sources du theatre anglais a I'epoque de la restauration (1906); 
Kerby, Moliere and the Restoration Comedy in England (1907). 

42 1 concur fully in this judgment of Miles, Influence of Moliere on Restoration 
Comedy (p. 224), and of Gillet, Moliere en Angleterre (pp 9-10). 


Miles published The Influence of Molitre on Restoration Com- 
edy. The peculiar distinction of the English comedy of manners, 
he said, came from plays of the type that Moliere developed, a 
comedy of manners that realistically mirrors the fads and follies 
of society without criticizing them. 48 When Etherege wrote his 
initial comedy, we learn, he sought to surpass current English 
plays by imitating Moliere's success in bringing recognizable por- 
traits of contemporary people to the stage. 44 Wycherley also 
adopted this method in making a "close transcript from con- 
temporary social life," being inspired probably by Etherege's ex- 
ample. 45 The same influences brought Dryden to social comedy. 
By all these, we are assured, Moliere was transplanted to England. 
Miles found, however, that the lesser dramatists were not influ- 
enced, although they delved in the same mine: they took only 
his materials; the leading playwrights, except Wycherley, caught 
his spirit. 46 Moliere's employment of comic scenes which have 
little bearing on the plot was imitated with avidity and became 
a pervasive influence on the vast majority of Restoration play- 
wrights; otherwise his plot structure influenced the English only 
in minor ways. 47 It seems that he taught the devices of irony, 
repetition, and staccato thrusts to Etherege, Crowne, and Con- 
greve, but not the prevailing tone of Restoration dialogue, which 
was really a continuation of the European tendency toward preci- 
osity, against which Moliere had launched a satire. 48 The French- 
man taught the dramatic device of overdrawing characters to 
provide emphasis, but his English borrowers seldom kept the 
spirit of the original figures. Those who really learned the spirit 
were important playwrights who "adopted Moliere's conception 
of comedy." 49 By attaching a detailed appendix of alleged bor- 
rowings. Miles completed the general impression that almost all 
Restoration comedy was deeply indebted to Moliere. Retaining 

43 Op. cit. t p. 33. **lbid., pp. 79-99. **lbtd., pp. 162-89. 

44 Ibid., pp. 61-68. ** Ibid., pp. 109-32. **lbid. t pp. 133-60. 

*, pp. 68-75. 


most of the parallels accumulated before his day, he made many 
increases, chiefly in connection with Crowne, Dryden, Ravens- 
croft, and Shadwell. With Van Laun's total of thirty-four plays 
raised to fifty-seven, he made the number of specific citations 
very impressive. 50 

Heralding a revival of interest in Restoration comedy as artistic 
literature, came the book of John Palmer, in which one finds no 
evidence of faith in any influence at all from Moliere. Palmer 
joined issue squarely with Miles when he explained Restoration 
comedy as "an independent growth springing spontaneously from 

50 Miles 's additions to previous lists arc given below. His refusals to accept previous 
findings are not indicated; these may be compiled by comparing Miles (ibid., pp. 
223-41), with footnotes 4, 12, 23, 25, 26, 27, 30, and 32 above. 
Mrs. Behn's Sir Patient Fancy: M. de Pourceaugnac. 
Crowne's The Country Wit: Le Tartuffe, Les Femmes sat/antes, 

The English Fnar: Le Tartuffe, La Comtesse d'Escarbagnas, L'Avare, 

The Married Beau" Les Precieuses ridicules, 

Sir Courtly Nice' Le Tartuffe, Les Femmes savantes. 

Dryden's Amphitryon Le Manage force, 

Love Triumphant: L'fitourdi; 

The Spanish Fnar: L'ficole des femmes, La Medecin malgre lui. 

Etherege's The Man of Mode- Les Precieuses ndicules. 

Farquhar's Love and a Bottle: M. de Pourceaugnac. 

Lacy's The Dumb Lady, Les Fourbenes de Scapin, L' Amour medecin. 

Otway's The Atheist. L'tcole des femmes, Les Fdcheux. 

Ravenscroft's The Canterbury Guests: Le Manage force t Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, 

The Careless Lovers: Les Precieuses ndicules, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Le 

Medecin malgre lut. 
Shadwell's The Amorous Bigot: L'Avare, Les Precieuses ndicules, Uficole des mans, 

Les Femmes savantes; 
Bury Fair: Le Misanthrope, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, La Comtesse d'Es- 


Epsom Wells: Le Medecin malgre lui t Le Misanthrope; 

The Humorists: Le Misanthrope; 

The Scowrers: Uficolc des mans, 

The Squire of Alsatia: L'tcolc des mans, 

The Woman Captain. L'Avare, L'tcole des marts; 

The Virtuoso: L'tcole des mans t Le Misanthrope; 

The Volunteers. Les Precieuses ndiculcs, L'tcole des mans. 

Vanbrugh*s The Relapse: Le Bourgeois Gcntilhomme, Utcole des mans. 

Wright's The Female Vertuosoes: M. de Pourceaugnac t Le Malade imaginaire, Le 

Manage force, Les Fourbenes de Scapin. 

Gillet (op. cit.) centered his attention on the first ten years of the Restoration. He 
asserts the existence of a profound influence from Moliere on twelve plays of the 
decade, citing thirty-three borrowings in his tabulation (pp. 1 44*47) 


the impulse of English Restoration Society to view itself in re- 
flexion upon the stage." 51 Scholars have since developed many 
details of the growing opinion that, despite foreign borrowings, 
these plays are English in most essential respects 52 and that 
much of the "subject-matter which characterizes Restoration 
comedy is to be found in the Elizabethan plays down to the 
closing of the theatres (i642)." 53 Miss Lynch presented a large 
amount of evidence of the continuity of Jacobean social attitudes 
in Restoration successes. 54 John H. Wilson showed that the late 
seventeenth century was greatly influenced by Beaumont and 
Fletcher, to whom he traced the vogue for plays having "as their 
foundation the combat between the sexes, which may result in 
marriage, fornication or adultery." 55 Numerous stock situations 
and stock plots of Restoration comedies, Wilson found, resemble 
Beaumont and Fletcher; for example, the bringing of a woman 
hater to his knees, a lover's counterfeiting ailments to induce a 
mistress to relent, women's bold actions in men's dress, and trick 
substitution in the marriage at the denouement. In discussing re- 
semblances of tone, Wilson mentioned cynical gaiety, "disbelief 
in the virtue of women and the honesty of men," frankness in 
matters of sex, and obscene wit. Both groups of plays treat mar- 
riage as the "last resort of the worn out or impoverished rake," 
a "prison for gentlemen," or "an opportunity for women to be 
promiscuous" with impunity. In both there are regularly mixtures 
of high life with low, of romance with comedy, of satire with 
realism, and of intrigue farce with tragicomedy. 66 

51 Comedy of Manners (1913), p. 66 

52 Nicoll, Restoration Drama (1923), pp. 168-81. 

53 Dobrec, Restoration Comedy (1924), p. 39. 

54 Social Mode of Restoration Comedy (1926). 

^Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on Restoration Drama (1928), p. 80. 

**lbid., pp. 80-90. Wilson summarizes (pp. 116-17) as follows: "The two groups 
of dramas [i.e. Beaumont and Fletcher's comedies and Restoration comedies] have 
many traits in common. Both expressed a cynical attitude toward marriage and sex; 
both dealt m veiled or outright obscenity and in personal, pointed wit. . . . Both groups 
of dramas made use of certain stock situations of intrigue and adventure; they handled 


That Ben Jonson also remained a vital force in comedy to the 
end of the seventeenth century was shown in a study by Paul 
Mueschke, who pointed out that the traditional emphasis upon 
Jonson's use of "humors" has hindered the observation of his 
keen social satire. Using Miss Lynch's discovery of the significance 
of social consciousness as the basis of his study, Dr. Mueschke 
demonstrated the presence in Jonson of a hitherto unsuspected 
social criticism: 

Jonson deliberately relates his characters to social standards. Jonson's 
utilization of the comic possibilities of social affectation begins in Every 
Man in His Humour, continues through Every Man out of His 
Humour, reaches its culmination in Epicoene, and declines in The Devil 
is an Ass. In these four plays are anticipated the social philosophy, the 
character types, and the dramatic principles out of which the Comedy 
of Manners was molded. Jonson's contribution to the origin of Restora- 
tion comedy is three-fold: in portraits drawn with sufficient skill to 
serve as models for his contemporaries, he continued the socialization 
of the Elizabethan gull; with a philosophy cynical enough to attract 
the sophisticated, he presented a group of wits who consciously formu- 
late and employ an insidious code of seduction; and through a keen 
sense of dramatic values, he exploited the comic possibilities arising 
from the juxtaposition of true-wits and would-bes. 57 

William H. Hickerson followed with an analysis of the relation 
of James Shirley to his predecessors. Fletcherian cynicism and 
wit centered about a witty woman who affected scorn toward 
the rakes who pursued her. By her wit she managed to win the 
one she wanted as a husband. Fletcher repeated this pattern regu- 
larly. Shirley's contribution to the Caroline comedy resulted from 

these situations in nearly identical fashions. Both made use of stock characters, and 
evidence is clear that the chief characters of the later comedy, the wild gallant and 
his witty mistress, can have come only from the Beaumont and Fletcher comedy. 
Artificial characters, in artificial settings, going through amorous intrigues, giving 
utterance to cynical, gay, often suggestive dialogues this is Restoration comedy and 
it is also the comedy of Beaumont and Fletcher." 

67 "Prototypes of Restoration Wits and Would-Bes in Ben Jonson's Realistic Com- 
edy" (1929), P. 192- 


his success in combining Jonson and Fletcher. Wits and would- 
bes created after the model of Jonson were blended with the 
Fletcherian rakes and witty women. 

The plays with which we have been dealing in the second period of 
Shirley's development show a growth . . . toward an artificial socialized 
comedy . . . [which] arises from an attempt ... to depict the manners 
and the fashionable life of his age. . . . 

Out of the pattern of the witty woman and her suitors emerges a 
pattern containing the principal types of characters made use of in 
Restoration comedy of manners 

Shirley never created a wit the equal of his witty woman. It remains 
for the Restoration first to produce its own type of a wit and then to 
imitate the social product in its own comedy of manners . . . [the Res- 
toration] did not produce the would-be . . . originally the contribution 
of Jonson. Jonson, however, portrays the would-be as a humorous gull, 
and, therefore, it is Shirley's merit that he substituted gentlemen from 
contemporary life . . . and yet retained the fundamental conception of 

Jonson in depicting them as pretenders Consistently Shirley betrays 

his would-be as a pretender to wit. Out of the would-be Shirley evolved 
the fop. 58 

Thus the Restoration dramatists found ready-made combina- 
tions of the most attractive elements of Jonson and Fletcher in 
the works of Shirley, whose 

. . . whole plan for the comedy of manners, the union of modernized 
Jonsonian would-bes and Fletcherian witty women and rakes in an at- 
mosphere full of wit, vigor, and social diversions of contemporary life, 
set the direction which the Restoration writers of comedy of manners 

consciously followed [Shirley] is the link between the Elizabethans 

and the Restoration dramatists. 59 

Cogent support of the view has been contributed by Joe Lee 
Davis in a recent study of minor Caroline imitators of Jonson: 

Jonson's influence on English comedy before 1642 is not a mere mat- 
ter of extensive and chaotic borrowing from his various plays. It is, 

58 "Significance of James Shirley's Realistic Plays" (1932), pp 262-64. 

59 Ibid., pp. 370-72. 


rather, an attempt to carry on the traditions of the three distinct genre- 
types of realistic comedy which his "comedy of humours" represents 
comedy of ethical satire, comedy of social satire, and comedy of farcical 

intrigue His Caroline "Sons of Ben" developed an eclectic social 

comedy whose distinguishing characteristics are that it imitates every 
chief feature of his comedy of social satire, separates imitation of his 
comedy of social satire from imitation of his comedy of ethical satire, 
gives the former more centrality in individual plays than imitation of 
his comedy of farcical intrigue, combines it in almost every conceivable 
fashion with other genre-types emphasizing social standards and ma- 
terials, and thus establishes it as the most dominant force in realistic 
comic tradition up to the close of the London theaters in 1642. In view 
of these facts, it is possible to assert that Jonson's influence on English 
comedy before 1642 makes clear his claim to the title of "father of Eng- 
lish social comedy" and warrants the belief that he is one of the most 
important progenitors of the Restoration comedy of manners. 60 

Recent studies of Wycherley, 61 Shadwell, 62 and Dryden 68 have 
also indicated a belief that the influence of Moliere can be re- 
duced to the status of a single element among many in accounting 
for the products of these important writers of comedy. But no 
general treatment of the subject to withstand critical scrutiny 
has yet been produced. 

An investigation is needed that will give accurate information 
regarding the exact nature and extent of each borrowing from 
Moliere in Restoration comedy, appraise these borrowings judi- 
ciously as contributions to the development of each author using 
him, and show clearly the extent and the limits of his influence 
on the English comedy of manners. Such is the intention of this 
study of Restoration plays that reflect, or have been alleged to 
reflect, in any degree the influence of Moliere. 

60 "The 'Sons of Ben* in English Realistic Comedy" (1934), pp. 937-38. 
61 Pcrromat, William Wycherley (1921). Discussed below in Chap. V. 
02 Borgman, Thomas Shadwell (1928). My comments will be found, passim, Chap. 
63 Allen, Sources of Dryden' s Comedies (1935). 


SOMEONE used to tell the story of the student who asserted 
that Gray's reference to the curfew in the "Elegy" proved 
a direct dependence upon Milton, who had mentioned a curfew 
in "II Penseroso." After smiling for a moment, one makes a 
sobering reflection that no one has ever met that student's needs 
by systematically describing the forms that the common fallacies 
assume in literary study. 1 Where can any one find a handbook of 
logic as it applies to the study of literary sources and influences? 
I stress logic, for honesty and information alone do not lead inva- 
riably to truth: sound reasoning must include conscious direction 
and critical control. Reliance on the instinct that guides the great 
scholar safely through the hazards of research may wreck the 
lesser man. And even great scholars have been known to err, 
where a more explicit technique might have saved them. 

Since, for the investigation of literary sources and influences, 
there is no formulated body of principles to which I can pledge 
allegiance, it is desirable to state at the outset exactly what meth- 
ods of weighing, considering, and checking I shall use. As the 
previous chapter made clear, the problem of Moliere's influence 
on Restoration comedy has been abundantly studied before now. 
The opinions might have been in harmony if the investigators 
had used the same methods. At any rate, I hope that by stating 
the principles that have guided my study I shall make it possible 
for any one to verify my results. 2 Certainly no one will think the 

1 Van Tieghem (La Utterature comparte, p. 5) mentions a similar deficiency in 
discussions of the theory of comparative literature. 

2 For obvious reasons of space and interest, I cannot give much of the evidence 
upon which my conclusions arc based. Nothing can be duller than prolix evidence 


less of my conclusions for having been told how they were 

The variant and contradictory opinions of my predecessors in 
the field impress one fact clearly upon me: any tendency to gen- 
eralize before all the evidence is assembled needs to be strangled 
at birth. In many instances, I find, foregone conclusions, stowing 
themselves away in the minds of scholars, rob their unwitting 
hosts of just that quality that makes research superior to guessing. 
Some students, for example, appear to think that the tracing of 
a literary influence is an act of homage to the source; 3 such an 
assumption is revealed in a tendency to believe things compli- 
mentary to Moliere's influence and to reject equally good evidence 
of borrowing where an influence would be no credit to him. 4 
Others merely reverse the bias. 5 In short it is probable that con- 
clusions have sometimes controlled the marshaling of facts. Ac- 
cordingly I have tried to remain objective by regarding literary 
influence as a simple issue of cause and effect. 

Another fact that cannot be overemphasized is the need for 
clarification of the difference between mere resemblance and 
demonstrable borrowing. Now a resemblance between the work 
of a later author and an earlier may justifiably be called a bor- 
rowing only when there is no other way to explain it. All like- 
nesses, whether they are verbal parallels, similarities of spirit, of 

in parallel passages, especially when the parallels are far apart. I have given earlier 
opinions in conveniently placed footnotes. 

3 Among the later studies, Gillet's Mohere en Angleterre is the most conspicuous 

4 Miles (Influence of Mohere on Restoration Comedy) believes that Mohere was as 
influential on Etherege and Congreve as on Wycherley and Dryden, although on his 
own evidence the first two borrowed /relatively little and the other two borrowed 
extensively (see pp. 60-61, 199-204). He appears to have assumed that the best quali- 
ties of Restoration comedy came from Mohere; the better the play in which they are 
found, the more certain he seems to be that an influence exists, and, vice versa, he 
asserts that minor writers, who he admits borrowed the most, were influenced the 
least (see pp. 98-99), without indicating any principle by which such a conclusion 
is reached. 

5 Palmer (Comedy of Manners) shows a high admiration for the originality of the 
Restoration writers and denies any borrowing. 


technique, or of thought, or resemblances in style, in an action, 
or in a character, must be assumed to be casual and fortuitous 
until a consideration of all the possibilities leaves borrowing as 
the only intelligent explanation of their existence. 6 

Only one type of likeness, long verbal parallels, can be immedi- 
ately recognized as indubitable borrowing. In this particular prob- 
lem there is no disagreement concerning such passages, for 
whether translated, half-translated, or merely paraphrased speech 
by speech, they are always found in association with further like- 
nesses. With long verbal resemblances, the existence even of a 
common source would not contradict the fact of borrowing, for 
Moliere did not follow his sources verbally/ 

But difficulty arises when no verbal parallelism exists, when 
the resemblances are merely of method, action, character, dra- 
matic situation, and the like. Caution is needed when dealing 
with such likenesses, because of the great possibility that both 
authors are independently availing themselves of an ancient and 
ever-growing body of commonplaces. 


The comedy of Plautus and Terence, which entered the stream 
of Italian literary drama with the Renaissance, was fairly central 
to the development of Moliere's art. Moliere also went directly 
to the Latin classics. But these same classics had been affecting 

6 An undue will to believe seems to be clearly proved when a scholar ignores 
chronology to call a likeness a borrowing. For example, Miles (op. at., p. 229) has 
the misfortune to call resemblances of Lacy's The Dumb Lady to Les Fourberies dc 
Scaptn borrowings. Their dates are 1669 and 1671 respectively. Likewise Gillet (op, 
cit. f p. 30) sees the influence of L f Impromptu dc Versailles (October, 1663), on 
D'Avenant's The Playhouse to be Let (c. August, 1663), but dated 1662 in Gillet. 
"Hypnotism of the unique source" is the descriptive phrase for this process, intro- 
duced by Andre Morizc (Problems and Methods of Literary History, p. 88). Paul 
Van Tieghcm (op. cit., p. 190), likewise warns against similitudes sans influences, 
which he ascribes to causes communes. He also warns that likenesses of accidental 
origin must not be considered. 

T Not even the bitter contemporary accusations of plagiarism in de Visa's Nouvettcs 
Nouvelles and Zeltnde (1663) charge him with verbal theft. 


English comedy also for more than a hundred years, and many 
of their characteristics had become commonplaces of English 
drama through their use by Ben Jonson and others. 8 Such a prob- 
lem, involving a likeness to material of classic origin, may be 
found in a comparison of The Squire of Alsatia (May, 1688) by 
Thomas Shadwell with L'Ecole de$ maris. In his play Moliere 
centers his attention on the subject of a suitable education for 
young people. He develops his idea of freedom by having each 
of two brothers, who entertain opposite views, rear a child in 
his own way; he thus shows the beneficent results of freedom in 
contrast with the unpleasant consequences of repression. The 
Squire of Alsatia can also be described by exactly the same words. 
Does this prove that its spirit and matter were borrowed? Not 
necessarily. The similarity noted above is the result of describing 
the plots in the most general terms. If we were to retell the action 
of each play in detail, describing the characters as they appear, no 
one would ever dream of likening ShadwelPs play to that of 

Recalling the Adelphoe of Terence, Moliere wrote a typically 
clear thesis play, in which he was discussing such a problem as 
his own approaching marriage to the beautiful young Armande 
Bejart, who was only half his own age. Sganarelle may have been 
a symbol of the jealous, possessive side of Moliere's own nature, 
while Ariste may have stood for his genial, intelligent side. The 
play revolves solely about the efforts of these two middle-aged 
men to win the love of their wards so that they can marry them. 

8 The same is true, mutatis mutandis, of Spanish materials and of the bag of 
theatrical tricks associated with commedia dell 1 arte, but they do not happen to enter 
into any of the plays about which this problem centers. 

For interesting evidence of the use of commedia dell' arte in Elizabethan drama, 
see Campbell's "Love's Labour's Lost Rcstudied," pp 21-25. Chambers (Elizabethan 
Stage, II, 261-65) gives an account of Italian companies in England as early as 1573. 
Smith ("Italian and Elizabethan Comedy," Modern Philology, V (1908), 555-6?) 
points out many contacts between the comedy of the two countries. Bader ("Italian 
Commedia dell' Arte in England, 1660-1700," p. 220) minimizes the extent of its 
influence, and stresses the diffused and indirect character of what he did find. 


In contrast. The Squire of Alsatia is one of the most carefully 
realistic plays of the most carefully realistic playwright of the 
Restoration. It is a comedy of low life in Whitefriars, the lowest 
section of London. It is full of the bragging and brawling of 
scowrers, cheats, and bullies; it contains a group of eager women 
and rejected mistresses. The author paraded an underworld jar- 
gon so obscure that he provided a short "Explanation of the 
Cant" when he printed the play. Like the authors of dozens of 
Restoration plays, Shadwell contrasts true gentlemen, Restora- 
tion style, with shabby imitations. He provides ladies with whom 
to reward the gallants. To the Restoration mind, the surest way 
to breed a fool is to keep him in the country, away from the re- 
fining influences of city society; a real gentleman is bred in 
London by a father wise enough to let him learn by experience 
in fashionable circles. With experience, some of which may come 
through reckless excess, a man will live a more sensible life in 
the city than will a money-minded boor from the country. Realis- 
tic writers of comedy are likely to start either with setting or 
with characters and later develop the action. So when Shadwell 
needed a plot for his play in which to imbed these ideas, he took 
over the Adelphoe of Terence as a general outline of the action 
and of the chief relationships. 9 

The extent of Shadwell's indebtedness to Terence may be sug- 
gested by again giving an outline that is true of both plays, 
although not a complete description of either: A surly, ill- 
mannered, miserly man from the country has allowed his bache- 
lor city brother to adopt one of his sons. The original father 
believes in strict discipline; and in contrast the adoptive parent 
prefers kindliness as the best way to educate young men. The 

8 Since The Squire of Alsatia does not come into the discussion at a later point, it 
is no more than fair to Shadwell to note that this tracing of the play to Terence docs 
not imply any other than a masterly use of well-known raw materials of drama 
ShadweH f s play is full of merits and originality due to the talent of the author, who 
is neither a slavish imitator nor an artless plagiarist. 


rustic son secretly escapes from the country to enjoy the entice- 
ments of city life. The city son is entangled with a girl whom 
he has debauched, but he is able to devise a way to extricate his 
simple brother and himself from their troubles, and both are 
happily married to the girls of their choice after the apparent 
conversion of the country father to the standards of his city 
brother. The similarities of The Squire of Alsatia to L'cole des 
marts are all in the common source, and the likeness of plot is 
not a borrowing from Moliere, 10 


Any drama is bound to have many points of similarity to any 
other. Methods, materials, devices, limitations, and needs pro- 
duce resemblances that often have no common origin, or at least 
no traceable one. A myopic parallel hunter often lists these con- 
ventions of the playhouse as borrowings. Lcs Precieuses ridicules 

has been mentioned as the source of Betterton's The Amorous 


Widow, or the Wanton Wife (c. 1670). The salient features of 
Moliere's plot are briefly as follows: Madelon and Cathos are 
two silly, romance-ridden young bourgeoises, who have disas- 
trously caught the affectations that emanated from the Hotel 
de Rambouillet under the name of preciosite, and who dream of 

10 Bergman (Thomas Shadwcll, pp. 208-9) says, "From the Adelphoc, then, 
Shadwell takes two contrasting points of view in the training of youth that based 
upon unmitigated severity, and that founded upon kindness tempered with indulgence. 
In the original, the follies resulting from the soft method are stressed; in the adapta- 
tion, the benefits growing out of the soft method are accentuated. Shadwell's shift 
in emphasis may have been due to the influence of Uficolc des marts, Moliere's comedy 
based upon the Adelphoc" My dissent is with the premise as well as with the con- 
clusion. I grant that Demea (Terence's country father) makes a closing ironic explana- 
tion of his sudden generosity that largely, but not wholly, nullifies his personal reform; 
this speech, however, can be explained as a bit of final irascibility, comical and human. 
It docs not completely throw the moral of the comedy against "the soft method," for 
after all it was the soft method and Demea's fifth-act acceptance of it that brought 
happiness to the young people. But even if the Adelphoc did oppose "the soft method," 
there are not enough points of resemblance between Shadwell's play and Moliere's, nor 
such elements of originality as to bar the likelihood of coincidence, a likelihood that 
is heightened greatly by the fact that such a similarity would accord with Restoration 
social attitudes. 


glamorous young men, worthy of highly refined natures. Coldly 
rejected, their two substantial bourgeois suitors revenge them- 
selves by sending their valets, Mascanlle and Jodelet, to imper- 
sonate noble suitors under the names of the Marquis de Mascarille 
and the Vicomte de Jodelet. Mascarille enters first, dressed in the 
most exaggerated burlesque of the current fashions for French 
fops. With manners that match his clothes, he talks about lit- 
erature and poetry, to which he offers his immortally inane addi- 
tion. Then he shows his skill in literary criticism by discussing 
the merits of his own composition in great detail. He talks about 
his clothes, item by item. With Jodelet's entrance the two men 
shift to talk of military prowess, making magnificent boasts and 
introducing an element of farce by proposing to show wounds 
on all parts of their bodies. They finally order fiddlers, that they 
may dance a few steps. Their false delicacy, silly affectations, 
and inane gallantries, in which Mascarille is the leader, are ex- 
travagant enough to meet the highest expectations of the de- 
lighted young ladies. After the proud girls have accepted the 
social brass of the valets for gold, the masters return, beat the 
servants, and disclose their identity. The center of the play is 
the satire of the current affectation of preciositt; the plot device 
of the masquerading servants is a means of making the folly 
of Madelon and Cathos apparent; their folly lies in their ac- 
ceptance of prcciosit^ as a serious social standard. 

In Betterton's play, two young men are unable to woo the 
ladies of their choice because an amorous old widow, Lady 
Laycock, insists on a relentless pursuit of every male who ap- 
proaches her niece. To escape the widow, the men introduce 
a falconer, Merryman, as the Viscount Sans-Terre. He gives a 
gay impersonation, monopolizing the attentions of the widow, 
and finally marries her for her fortune. With no general like- 
nesses of action except the fact that a man of low rank is induced 
to masquerade as a viscount, there is no more reason to suspect 


a copy from Moliere than there is to recall parallels in earlier 
English plays. Merryman has none of the essential qualities of 
Mascarille. However, Betterton may have developed him from 
Mascarille; the evidence does not enable us to deny that he did. 
Unable to affirm or to deny that the likeness is a borrowing, we 
must class it as a possible borrowing, being careful at all times 
thereafter not to base on it a more definite conclusion than an 
unproved possibility. 


England, Italy, Spain, and France had a considerable amount 
of social interchange, so that manners, dress, fads, foibles, and 
even turns of speech took on resemblances that could be copied 
direct from life in each country and yet look superficially like 
borrowings from plays. This could be illustrated by reference to 
another aspect of Les Precieuses ridicules. Mascarille is an ex- 
treme burlesque of a French fop. He is not a portrait, but a 
satire of a type. On the Restoration stage we find a type of char- 
acter often regarded as an imitation of Mascarille the fop who 
is full of aflf ectation, but is not a masquerader. Miles, for example, 
thinks that Sir Fopling Flutter of Etherege's The Man of Mode 
is adapted from Mascarille because Sir Fopling sings, dances, and 
talks clothes. 11 If fops had not been prevalent in London society 
and in Parisian society, neither Etherege nor Moliere would have 
staged them. Surely French fops and English fops would both 
take an interest in dress, and in the current social graces of danc- 
ing and singing. Moreover Etherege presents Sir Fopling as a 
Frenchified Englishman, and as such he would have some of the 
characteristics currently ascribed to French fops. If there is noth- 
ing to prevent Moliere's looking about him and sketching Mas- 
carille, what is there to prevent Etherege's looking about and 
sketching Sir Fopling? It must be remembered that Restoration 

11 Miles, Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, pp. 135-38. 


audiences considered Sir Fopling a portrait and tried to identify 
him with current dandies. 12 Despite the number of likenesses 
we must deny the borrowing, because the resemblances are social 
commonplaces and not distinctive in nature or in arrangement. 


Finally, human nature in all lands and in all ages has more 
points of resemblance than of variance. Observations by different 
men of a persistent or a recurring element of life may look to 
the book-minded observer like a borrowing. 13 

In The Careless Lovers (March, 1673) by Edward Ravenscroft, 
there is a borrowing of the bigamy trick of Moliere's M. de 
Pourceaugnac, whereby an undesired suitor is put to flight. (Two 
women enter in succession, each declaring De Boastado has mar- 
ried her. Each supports her claim by producing the alleged off- 
spring of the union.) The fact of this debt, coupled with Ravens- 
croft's generally known readiness to take anything from any 
one, especially Moliere, would increase the probability that a 
second likeness is a borrowing. But this second resemblance lies 
in the fact that Ravenscroft's plot revolves about a stern father 
who is determined to settle his daughter's marriage for her; this 
someone has actually ascribed to Moliere. It is found in classic, 
Italian, French, Spanish, Elizabethan, Jacobean, and Restoration 
drama, because it was in the life of all those times and places. 
(One might as well try to trace the literary source of the slightly 

12 In Gibber's Lives of the Poets (1753, HI, 34-35) one reads* "...he [Etherege] 
is said to have drawn . . . some of the contemporary coxcombs, and Mr Dryden . . . says, 
that the character of Flutter is meant to ridicule none m particular, but the whole 
fraternity of finished fops, the idolaters of new fashions ... Sir Fopling was iaid to 
be drawn for one Hewit, a beau of those times . . the town's asscnbmg them [ Sir 
Fopling, Donmant, and Medley] to some particular persons ... at least demonstrated 
a close imitation of nature." See also Verity's Worlds of Sir George Ether edge, p. xiv n. 

38 See Dodge, "A Sermon on Source-hunting," Modern "Philology, IX (1911-12), 
211-23; Stoll, "Certain Fallacies and Irrelevancies in Literary Scholarship," Studies 
in Philology, XXIV (1927), 485-508; Ohphant, "How Not to Play the Game of 
Parallels," Journal of English and Germanic Philology t XXVIII (1929), 1-15. 


more commonplace fact that girls have fathers.) The likeness 
must not be considered as even a possible borrowing. 


Even when a likeness has not been eliminated by one of the 
foregoing considerations, it is still unacceptable as a borrowing 
unless it has identifying peculiarities. In Sir Charles Sedley's The 
Mulberry Garden (May, 1668) there is a resemblance to L'ficole 
des maris. Moliere's play opens with a rather spirited argument 
between the brothers, Sganarelle and Ariste, each the guardian of 
a girl he hopes to marry. Old-fashioned Sganarelle ridicules 
Ariste for his stylish dress. As the young ladies appear on their 
way outdoors for a pleasant stroll, Sganarelle orders his ward to 
stay inside. He advocates forceful repression and strict adherence 
to household duties as the best way to teach a girl to be a faithful 
wife, while Ariste argues for freedom and kindness. The young 
ladies are present during the discussion in which Sganarelle pre- 
dicts disaster to Ariste for the freedom he allows his ward. 

The rising curtain of Sedley's The Mulberry Garden reveals 
Sir John Everyoung, a cavalier of the last days of the Common- 
wealth, who has taken to foppish dress, and his brother-in-law, 
Sir Samuel Forecast, who still affects the Puritan ways. They 
argue about the proper way to rear and to dress Everyoung's 
daughters, Forecast's nieces. These daughters soon enter to ask 
for the coach in which they wish to take a drive in the park. 
Forecast remarks that his own daughters are locked up at home, 
and the men resume the controversy about proper freedom for 
young ladies. Here the number of likenesses is too great for coin- 
cidence. Characters, subject of discussion, and order of events 
through four pages are almost identical, although there are no 
verbal parallels. These four pages are undoubtedly a borrowing 
from Moliere. 

Another example can be found in a comparison between Shad- 


well's Bury Fair (c. April, 1689) and Les Prtcieuses. Lady 
Fantast and her daughter have a silly desire to ape the refine- 
ments of the French. As Lady Fantast's stepdaughter, Gertrude, 
and Wildish, suitor to the latter, cannot endure the postures and 
pretenses, they determine to use ridicule. Wildish induces La 
Roche, a French barber, to masquerade as a count and woo Lady 
Fantast's daughter. Much original fun develops from the bar- 
ber's inability to keep exactly in character. But La Roche wins 
the attention of the ladies, although it is at the price of a beating 
from their admirers. When the rumor of his being a barber 
spreads and Wildish admits the hoax, the duped ladies leave 
Bury in confusion and dismay. The differences between La Roche 
and Mascarille are many; yet the similarities are distinctive of 
Moliere's invention, and their repetition in Shadwell is inex- 
plicable as coincidence. We note that, by the same device, both 
authors ridicule two silly women for their affectations, having 
them trapped into receiving the courtship of false counts whose 
affectations are evident to everyone else. The pretenders are fur- 
ther induced to undertake the action by suitors whom the affected 
women have despised; the opportunity appeals to the natural van- 
ity of the counts, and their enthusiastic responses makes them 
secondary butts; their unmasking brings about the social debacle 
of the pretenders and the chagrin of the affected women. Any 
one of these elements separately could be fortuitously hit upon 
by two men, but their entire combination could not. Shadwell 
has undoubtedly borrowed the material. 

Thus even a fairly close likeness between Restoration authors 
and Moliere must be treated with calm skepticism and denied 
the name of borrowing, unless the similarity is peculiarly marked 
with identifying traits that cannot be reasonably explained as the 
independent use of commonplace materials of literature, of the 
theatre, or of life. Or, to state it positively, a likeness to Moliere 
is accepted as a borrowing when the thought, the wording, the 


action, the situation, or the dramatic device has, in isolation or 
in combination, enough points of resemblance or such identify- 
ing peculiarities as to bar the livelihood of coincidence in observa- 
tion or in the use of commonplaces. Somewhat less convincing 
resemblances are noted as possible borrowings, not proved; but 
commonplaces of literature, of the stage, or of the times are ex- 
cluded from this classification. 14 


After the extent of borrowing from a work has been estab- 
lished, the tracing of literary influence can be controlled by the 
simple principle that a literary influence exists when borrowings 
have helped to form results. The influence is identified when 
the tracing of borrowing enables us to perceive what elements 
in the product of the borrowing author are definitely due to his 
encounter with the source. 

As influences are of all kinds and degrees, they must be clas- 
sified and studied before their natures can be intelligently deter- 
mined. Borrowings are here placed under the three heads 
traditional in literary criticism, the spirit, the matter, and the 
form. By these terms are intended what Goethe and Herder 
meant by Gehalt, Staff, and Form. 15 Although the product of 
the creative imagination cannot be separated dichotomously into 
thought and embodiment, it can be examined from different 
points of view. 

Under spirit (Gehali), I include any aspect of the author's 
thought as a whole, so far as it can be distinguished from the 
particular kind of objectivity which he gave it. This is the most 

14 The foregoing definitions and principles doubtless reflect the opinions of more 
scholars than I am aware of. In addition to those cited from time to tune above, I 
feel specific debt, for some suggestion or support, to the following: Baldensperger, 
"Litterature comparee le mot et la chose," Revue de litterature comparee, T* 
annee, pp. 1-29; Lanson, "Etudes sur les rapports de la litterature franc.aise," etc.; 
Revue d' histoire htteraire, III (1896), 45-70; Price, English-German Literary In- 
fluences, pp. 119-23. 

15 The example of Gundelfinger [pseud, Gundolf], Shakespeare und der Deutsche 
Geist, is followed in this division. 


valuable and most imperishable aspect of literature. Influences 
of spirit have a higher value, therefore, than those of matter 
or form. The greatest are formative of the mind and spirit of 
a great man. Of this kind is the effect of the social philosophy of 
William Godwin on Shelley, or the influence of Ibsen's Ghosts 
on Das Friedensjest of Gerhardt Hauptmann. 

By matter (Stoff) I mean the particular objectivity the artist 
has given his literary spirit. In drama this consists of the action, 
the characters, the incidents, the situations, the scenery every- 
thing that comprises the audible or visible medium by which the 
author's intention (Gehalt) reaches the audience. Borrowings of 
matter may or may not be very influential, depending largely 
upon the amount of spirit that goes with them. Without evidence 
of influence on a man's thought, no great importance can be 
attached to borrowing. Shakespeare, for example, borrowed mat- 
ter from Lodge, from Kyd, from Bandello, from Rabelais, and 
from Montaigne; but we must insist on finding likenesses of 
spirit before we believe there are prospects of discovering a great 
influence. In the field of seventeenth-century drama, the use of 
incidental material is often a factor of very little importance. The 
limitations of the dramatic genre make originality in plot ele- 
ments difficult; the urgent necessity of theatrical success makes a 
playwright eager to use any tested device. A slightly relaxed 
standard of literary honesty in drama, in comparison with other 
types of literature, seems to have been the rule. 10 The result is 
that even lavish borrowings of plot detail may have little influ- 
ence. Perhaps this lack of force comes about because a borrower 
in search of new material does not surrender to the spirit of the 
text, as he may when his reading lacks a practical motive. 

Under form I place those aspects of literature that relate pri- 
marily to manner and method, so far as they are separable from 

16 Sec preface to An Evening's Love m Dramatic Worlds of Dryden f ed, by Scott- 
Samtsbury, III, 249. 


matter. An author considers form when deciding to express an 
idea in a sonnet rather than in an essay or a story, as when the 
Elizabethans turned to sonnet sequences after the example of 
Petrarch. Form, of course, is always intimately related to matter 
and spirit. In drama it is largely barren as a separate concept be- 
cause all plays are similar externally. But the sort of dialogue, 
the style of language, the manipulation of scenes, the plan of 
exposition, and the selection of elements for direct or narrated 
action are primarily in the category of form. In the discussion 
of the value of an influence, with which we are chiefly concerned, 
no a priori precedence can be given to either matter or form, 
although both must be placed far below spirit. 

After classifying the borrowings under spirit, matter, or form, 
I study them for their influence in determining the character 
of the literature in which they were used. The weighing of the 
influence of these elements is guided by three criteria, to which 
I give a priori acceptance. In using these criteria, one must keep 
in mind that separately they do not reach the truth. After apply- 
ing all three separately, I undertake to synthesize the partial 
answers into a final judgment that takes all the evidence into 
due consideration. 

Criterion L The degree of influence depends upon the extent 
and centrality of the borrowed elements in the wor\s of the 
source. In this particular study the estimation of the degree of 
influence is simpler because the source is the work of just one 
man. But even with our single author, the value of different 
works is far from the same. At the top stand his great comedies 
of character and of manners. The most direct influence must be 
central to the art of the author borrowed from, if his special 
personality is to be a force. Marginal matters often bear no stamp 
of an author's own genius. For Moliere this means that the most 
significant influence must come from a great comedy, not from 
a minor one. A borrowing from Le Depit amour eux could 


scarcely match one from L'Avare. To be most potent, a borrow- 
ing, however, must also be central to the art of the particular 
work from which it is taken, for the significance of a play as a 
whole does not necessarily appear in every detail; thus a borrow- 
ing may be made from a very fine play and yet be of no im- 
portance at all. For example, in Le Tartuffe the husband is 
concealed under the table so that he can be shown Tartuffe's 
villainy. For a Restoration playwright to reproduce the stage 
devices of this scene does not argue for any very considerable 
influence, as a common French farce might have suggested the 
same action. Moliere's greatest plays incidentally contain exam- 
ples of his unerring skill in pleasing his customers with clever 
theatrical devices, and material could be borrowed from the best 
plays without touching upon the man's greatness. The farces, the 
comedies of intrigue, parts of the comedie-ballets, and much of 
the cleverness and skill of the great comedies are much less 
central to Moliere's art than the main elements of the comedies 
of character and manners. 

Criterion II. The degree of influence depends upon the extent 
and centrality of the borrowed elements in the wor\$ of the bor- 
rower. For example, in attempting to determine the degree of 
influence of Moliere upon Dryden, one first assembles the list 
of established borrowings in Dryden's plays and applies Criterion 
I to see whether it was the great Moliere or merely the clever 
Moliere who was at work in Dryden. One next weighs Dryden's 
works separately to see what their essential qualities consist of, 
and then one refers to the borrowings to see which of these 
qualities, if any, came from Moliere. One tries to imagine Dry- 
den's plays with the borrowings from Moliere left out. One 
asks if Dryden could have replaced the deficiencies from his own 
resources or if he would have been as impotent as Medbourne 
would have been without a Tartuffe to translate. If Dryden with 
the borrowings is more than Dryden without them, the differ- 


ence measures the influence, the result of the later author's ac- 
quaintance with the works of the earlier. The more central this 
difference is to Dryden's peculiar and essential culture, the 
greater Moliere's influence upon him. The need here is to keep 
the whole of the borrowing author's work in mind and to avoid 
a distortion that will certainly come if one concentrates upon 
the borrowings to the neglect of the proportion they bear to the 
whole. In The Tempest Shakespeare copied a passage of Mon- 
taigne almost literally. What is the importance of this passage 
in the whole ? The play would not be very different, nor would 
the role of Gonzalo be much weaker if Montaigne had been 
left out. Surely, we must always consider the extent to which 
borrowed elements loom up in an examination of the whole in 
proper perspective. While it would not be hard to demonstrate 
that there is much difference in spirit, the amount of matter 
from Plautus in The Comedy of Errors is very high. But before 
we commit ourselves too far in thinking Plautus highly forma- 
tive of Shakespeare's comic art, we must read all the comedies 
of the latter and allow for the fact that the ratio to the total 
drops with every additional play, for Plautus ceased to influence 

Criterion III. The influence of borrowings upon a larger mass 
of literature, such as the comic drama of a period, must be studied 
in the light of the whole of that literature, not merely of that 
in which borrowings occur. 17 After a clear idea is gained of the 
whole influence upon each separate author, an attempt must 
be made to relate these influences to the entire work of the age. 
For this aspect, the natural approach seems to be chronological. 
All the comedies of the Restoration have therefore been arranged 
by years. 18 Summaries of the spirit, matter, and form of the comic 

17 Van Ticghem seems to be assuming the same principle when he insists upon the 
student's need for a broad knowledge of contemporary literature in the pays rccepteur 
(op. at., p. 64). 

18 See Appendix B for this list. 


writing of the English authors are considered, first by single 
years, then by larger units of time, and finally for the whole 
period. The relation of Moliere to each of these groups of plays 
can be decided with some precision. The degree of influence on 
an age will be affected by the significance of the borrowers. 
The value of a servile imitation by a hack cannot be great unless 
it becomes an intermediate source of influence on an important 
author. Even this is unlikely to occur, as we shall see from the 
sterility of Medbourne's Tartuffe, or the French Puritan (c. April, 
1670), because the hack generally fails to transmit any of the 
essential greatness of the original. A translation or a complete 
adaptation drawn from an unimportant work of Moliere's is 
not a valuable influence. Such is Otway's Cheats of Scapin. 
Neither would an influence on a minor writer of comedy like 
Otway have the value of an equal influence upon a Wycherley 
or a Congreve. We must remember also that the influence on 
an age has a relation to the centrality of the borrowings in what 
is transmitted to the borrowers' fellows and successors. We 
must concern ourselves with the extent to which those ele- 
ments borrowed from Moliere affected the nature of the total 
comic writing of the Restoration. A comparison must be made 
between what is central to the age and what is borrowed, to see 
what effects the borrowings produced. If the essential qualities 
of Wycherley, Dryden, Shadwell, and Congreve, for example, 
were the things directly or indirectly borrowed from Moliere, 
they would have transmitted much of him to their age, and his 
influence would be very high. But the farther the borrowings 
are from the center of their productions, the slighter his influ- 
ence would be, for to have been influential in a high degree he 
must have greatly changed the total product from what it would 
have been without him. The visibility of Moliere's influence 
when the perspective is true to the facts, when all the comedies 
are seen in their true relation, is the final test. 


K1CENT studies of British drama seem to make it clear that 
when the two Restoration companies began playing in 
1660, they met the shortage of new plays by depending upon 
pre-Restoration staples. Fletcher, Jonson, Shirley, Shakespeare, 
Brome, and Middleton provided the bulk of the comic offerings. 
New writers, as they arose, naturally made their inventions con- 
form to those elements in the old drama which satisfied current 
taste. But it is an incontrovertible fact that Moliere's comedies 
were repeatedly levied upon also. What did each Englishman 
take? What did he do with it? What did he like about it? With 
such questions as these in mind, let us examine some early Res- 
toration plays that indubitably borrow from him: 1 Dryden's Sir 
Martin Mar- All, or the Feigned Innocence (August, 1667), 
Flecknoe's The Damoiselles a la Mode (September, 1668), Lacy's 
The Dumb Lady, or the Farrier Made Physician (1669), Caryl's 
Sir Salomon, or the Cautious Coxcomb (c. 1669), Betterton's The 
Amorous Widow, or the Wanton Wife (c. 1670), Medbourne's 
Tartuffe, or the French Puritan (c. April, 1670), and ShadwelTs 
The Miser (January, 1672). They provide examples of Moliere's 
fate in the hands of typical English adapters. 


After the rather indifferent reception of The Wild Gallant 
(February, 1663), J ^ 111 Dryden scored the greatest theatrical suc- 
cess of his long dramatic career with the farcical Sir Martin Mar- 

X I have chosen these plays from the complete list of early borrowings from Moliere 
because they offer a suitable variety of methods of adaptation and of results. 


All, an adaptation from Quinault and Moliere. The process of 
adaptation is interesting. A play of Italian provenience, Ulnav- 
vertito of Nicolo Barbieri, had been rendered into French by 
Quinault under the title of L'Amant indiscret and by Moliere as 
L'EtourdL Dryden based the first two acts on Quinault, and then 
shifted to Moliere for the rest. 2 To this he added a minor action 
of his own that brings enough spice of indecency to provide 
the second title and to balance the innocence of the borrowed 
fun. Barbieri's play had provided Moliere with a combination of 
Italian comedy and classical material. The fundamental situa- 
tion is that of a rather stupid young man in love with a pretty 
slave girl, but without money to buy her. His clever servant 
tries to bring about the desired result, although the young man's 
father wishes him to marry another girl. This is all conven- 
tional stuff of ancient drama. The interest in the play arises from 
the resourcefulness of the servant in rapidly bringing forward a 
dozen or fifteen successive plans for extricating his master, who 
stupidly spoils each design, except the last, by a farcical capacity 
for ineptitude and misunderstanding. According to Toldo, Moliere 
gave his young man much more intelligence than Barbieri, 3 and 
then adapted his plot so that some of the trouble was sheer bad 
luck and some due to inadequate cooperation between servant 
and master. Thus Moliere made a happy ending acceptable, 
Moliere also enlivened this example of Italian literary drama 
with devices drawn from commedia dell' arte. Barbieri's speeches 
were shortened, shorn of their pseudophilosophical elements, and 
replaced by brisk action. Despite these changes and despite its 
appeal everywhere, neither the tone of Lfitourdi nor the matter 
suggest localized manners. 

2 1 am indebted to N. B. Allen for first calling my attention to this point. Scott 
wrote exactly about the relation of Quinault and Mohere to Dryden's play, but he 
has apparently been misread; hence Quinault is often erroneously credited with the 
racy underplot. In Sources of Dryden's Comedies (p. 220 n), Allen explains the 
relationship of the plays in detail. 

3 Toldo, L'Ocuvre de Mohere et set fortune en Italic, pp. 20-27. 


In this respect Dryden has happily improved Moliere, who had 
not imported his characters into France, but had given them a 
vague and unreal background called Messina. Sir Martin Mar-All 
is as essentially English as most farces of native origin. The 
characters are British people, their actions, though farcical, are 
based on life in England, and the merry tone is a common one 
in the Stuart theatre. Less than half the tricks employed by 
Mascarille are retained in any form, and these are adapted to 
the British background. The tricks added to piece out the plot 
are as good as Moliere's, and one deserves Genest's praise for 
superiority. 4 To prove that he is a wit, Sir Martin must serenade 
Millisent. As he can neither sing nor play, he goes through the 
gestures and grimaces while his clever Warner plays and sings 
from concealment. But Sir Martin misses the signal and ecstati- 
cally continues his gestures long after the music ceases. Dryden 
realized the impossibility of making Mar-all a sympathetic char- 
acter. Instead he made him the typical silly country knight of 
Restoration plays, following the tradition of the Jonsonian char- 
acters of little social insight. He completely mars all when he 
marries the maid, thinking he has won the mistress. The mistress 
has used this plan to wed Warner, the servant, whose true wit 
attracts her in accordance with Restoration notions, and who 
proves to be of good family and laughingly insists that he has 
been the master all the time. Thus true-wits are rewarded. 

If one were to adapt Dryden's play to modern America, with all 
the changes needed to make the farce appear contemporary in ac- 
tions and dialogue, the revision would be comparable to the re- 
vision he imposed on Quinault and Moliere. Dryden wrote more 
than half of the first two acts with Quinault open. He adapted 
speech by speech, idea by idea, and when he wished, word for 
word. The first meeting of Sir Martin and his rival, Sir John, for 
example, is directly after the similar meeting of cognate characters 

4 Genest, Some Account of the English Stage, I, 75-76. 


in L'Amant indiscret. The parallel passages from the two plays 

CUandre. Est-ce vous, cher Lisipe, est-ce vous que je voy? 

Ne m'abusay-je point? 

Ltsipe. Non, Cleandre, c'est moy. 

CUandre. Quelle heureuse rencontre! Eh quoy! dans cette ville! 

Ltsipe. J'ay fait assez longtemps un mestier inutile, 

Ou je n'ay rien gagne, si ce n'est quelques coups; 

II est temps que chez moy je cherche un sort plus doux. 

Je me sens tout use d'avoir porte les armes, 

Et pour moy, desormais, le repos a des charmes. 

Je suis prest d'epouser une rare beaute 

Ou je borne mes voeux et ma felicite, 

Et j'ay fait de Paris le voyage avec elle, 

Pour vuider un procez qui dans ce lieu 1'appelle. 

CUandre. Depuis trois ans passes vous estes hors d'icy, 

Sans nous avoir ecrit! 

Ltsife. Cleandre, il est amsi; 

Mais les mains qu'on employe a servir aux armees 

D'ecrire bien souvent sont desaccoutumees; 

Puis on a de la peine a les faire tenir. 

CUandre. Et puis de ses amis on perd le souvenir. 

Lisipe. Point du tout, j'eus tou jours Cleandre en ma memoir e. 

CUandre. C'est m'obliger beaucoup que me le faire croire. 

Lisipe. He bien! Ton m'a conte que vous jouez toujours. 

Comment va la fortune? 

CUandre. Elle est dans le decours: 

Ma maison de Paris, depuis un mois vendue, 

En beaux deniers comptans dans mes mains s'est fondue. 

Lisipe. Lorsque le malheur dure, il est bien affligeant. 

CUandre. Quand je jette les dez, je jette mon argent, 

Et si je m'emancipe a dire tope ou masse, 

Le malheur qui me suit ne me fait point de grace. 

Si je joue au piquet avec quelque ostrogot, 

II me fera vingt fois pic, repic, et capot; 

En dernier il aura deux quintes assorties, 

Et vingt fois pour un point je perdray des parties. 


Lisipe. Le jeu n'est pas plaisant lorsque Ton perd ainsi. 

CUandre. J'ay perdu le desir de plus jouer aussi, 

Et j'en ay fait serment au moms pour six semaines. 

Listpe. Les sermens d'un joueur sont des promesses vaines: 

Je suis fort asseure que vous n'en ferez rien. 

CUandre. Je pretends menager le reste de mon bien, 

Et n'iray plus tenter un hasard si nuisible. 

Lisipe. Ha! cette retenue est du tout impossible: 

Vostre ame pour le jeu sent trop d'emotion. 

CUandre. Elle est pleine aujourd'huy d'une autre passion. 

Lisipe. D'ambition ? d'amour ? 

CUandre. C'est d'amour, cher Lisipe. 

Lisipe. Dans ce jeu bien sou vent, comme aux autres, on pipe, 

Et parfois tel amant s'embarque avec chaleur, 

Qui perd souvent son fait, et joue avec malheur. 

Est-ce pour une veuve, ou bien pour une fille? 

CUandre. C'est pour 1'unique enfant d'une bonne famille, 

Pour une fille riche et belle au dernier point. 

Lisipe. Et qui souff re vos soins ? 

CUandre. Et qui ne me hait point. 

U Amant indiscret, Act I, scene 4. 

Sir John. Sir Martin Mar-all! most happily encountered! how long 
have you been come to town? 

Sir Mart. Some three days since, or thereabouts: But, I thank God, 
I am very weary on 't, already. 

Sir John. Why, what's the matter, man? 

Sir Mart. My villainous old luck still follows me in gaming; I never 
throw the dice out of my hand, but my gold goes after them: If I go 
to piquet, though it be but with a novice m't, he will pique and repique, 
and capot me twenty times together : and, which most mads me, I lose 
all my sets when I want but one of up. 

Sir John. The pleasure of play is lost, when one loses at that unreas- 
onable rate. 

Sir Mart. But I have sworn not to touch either cards or dice this half 

Sir John. The oaths of losing gamesters are most minded; they for- 
swear play as an angry servant does his mistress, because he loves her 
but too well. 


Sir Mart. But I am now taken up with thoughts of another nature; 
I am in love, sir. 

Sir John. That's the worst game you could have played at; scarce one 
woman in an hundred will play with you upon the square. You ven- 
ture at more uncertainty than at a lottery : For you set your heart to a 
whole sex of blanks. But is your mistress widow, wife, or maid ? 

Sir Mart. I can assure you, sir, mine is a maid; the heiress of a 
wealthy family, fair to a miracle. 

Sir John. Does she accept your service? 

Sir Mart. I am the only person in her favour. 

Dry den's Dramatic WorJ(s f III, 10-11. 

Such rewriting is evidently masterly in its attempt to produce 
an English effect from a French original. It condenses much 
more than the following parallel, which is probably as close as 

Lisipe. Vous ne m'avez pas dit Pheure du rendez-vous. 

Maie que veut ce maraud? 

Phihpin. C'est vous que je demande, 

Pour vous dire deux mots d'importance fort grande. 

Lisipe. Parle. 

Phihpin. C'est en secret que je vous dois parler. 

Rosette. Je le tiens fort subtil, s'll peut s'en demesler. 

Philipin, a Lisipe. Par Pordre de Cleandre, avec beaucoup 


Je suis venu sonder la vertu de Lucresse, 
Et j'ay par mes discours si bien sceu Pemouvoir, 
Que mon maistre a receu rendez-vous pour la voir. 
Mais sjachant vostre amour, loin de vous faire outrage, 
II renonce pour vous a ce grand advantage, 
Et veut vous faire voir, par ce prompt changement, 
Qu'il est meilleur amy qu'il n'est discret amant. 
II ne pretend plus rien au coeur de cette belle, 
Et vous fait advertir d'avoir Poeil dessus elle. 
Lisipe. Pour un si bon advis rej ois ce diamant. 
Que ton maistre m'oblige! 
Philiptn. O Dieu! quel changement! 


Usipe. Madame, Philipin, de la part de Cleandre, 
Touchant le rendez-vous vient de me tout apprendre. 
Le croyant mon amy, je n'etois pas trompe. 
Lucresse, & part. La defaite est fort bonne, et Lisipe est dupe. 

L'Amant tndiscret, Act II, scene 6. 

Sir John. Half my business was forgot; you did not tell me when you 
were to meet him. Ho! what makes this rascal here? 

Warn. 'Tis well you're come, sir, else I must have left untold a mes- 
sage I have for you. 

Sir John. Well, what's your business, sirrah? 

Warn. We must be private first; 'tis only for your ear. 

Rose. I shall admire his wit, if in this plunge he can get off. 

Warn. I came hither, sir, by my master's order, 

Sir John. I'll reward you for it, sirrah, immediately. 

Warn. When you know all, I shall deserve it, sir: I came to sound 
the virtue of your mistress : which I have done so cunningly, I have at 
last obtained the promise of a meeting. But my good master, whom I 
must confess more generous than wise, knowing you had a passion for 
her, is resolved to quit: And, sir, that you may see how much he loves 
you, sent me in private to advise you still to have an eye upon her 

Sir John. Take this diamond for thy good news; and give thy master 
my acknowledgments. 

Warn. Thus the world goes, my masters! he, that will cozen you, 
commonly gets your good-will into the bargain. [Aside. 

Sir John. Madam, I am now satisfied of all sides; first of your truth, 
then of Sir Martin's friendship. In short, I find you two cheated each 
other, both to be true to me. 

Mitt. Warner is got off as I would wish, and the knight overreached. 

Wor\s, III, 26-27. 

In the second half, the need of integrating borrowed plot with 
original subplot apparently made it impossible for Dryden to 
follow Moliere as closely as he had Quinault. But he used the 
greater man in the same general manner, as the following paral- 
lels show: 


Leandre. Je ne sais; mais enfin, 

Si quelque obscurite se treuve en son destin, 

Sa grace et sa vertu sont de douces amorces, 

Qui pour tirer les coeurs ont d'mcroyables forces. 

Mascanlle. Sa vertu, dites-vous? 

Leandre. Quoi? que murmures-tu ? 

Acheve, explique-toi sur ce mot de vertu. 

Mascanlle. Monsieur, votre visage en un moment s'altere, 

Et je ferai bien mieux peut-etre de me taire. 

Leandre. Non, non, parle. 

Mascanlle, He bien done! tres-eharitablement 

Je vous veux retirer de votre aveuglement, 

Cette fille. . . . 

Leandre. Poursuis. 

Mascanlle. N'est rien moins qu'inhumaine; 

Dans le particulier elle oblige sans peine; 

Et son coeur, croyez-moi, n'est point roche, apres tout, 

A quinconque la sait prendre par le bon bout. 

Elle fait la sucree, et veut passer pour prude; 

Mais je puis en parler avecque certitude: 

Vous savez que je suis quelque peu d'un metier 

A me devoir connoitre en un pareil gibier. 

Uandre. Celie. . . . 

Mascarille. Oui, sa pudeur n'est que franche grimace, 

Qu'une ombre de vertu qui garde mal la place, 

Et qui s'evanouit, comme Ton peut savoir, 

Aux rayons du soleil qu'une bourse fait voin 

Leandre. Las! que dis-tu! croirai-je un discours de la sorte? 

Mascarille. Monsieur, les volontes sont libres: que m'importe? 

Non, ne me croyez pas, suivez votre dessein, 

Prenez cette matoise, et lui donnez la main: 

Toute la ville en corps reconnoitra ce zele, 

Et vous epouserez le bien public en elle. 

Uandre. Quelle surprise etrange! 

UEtourdi, Act III, scene 2. 

Sir John. When she is once mine, her virtue will secure me. 
Warn. Her virtue! 


Sir John. What, do you make a mock on 't? 

Warn. Not I; I assure you, sir, I think it no such jesting matter. 

Sir John. Why, is she not honest? 

Warn. Yes, in my conscience is she; for Sir Martin's tongue's no 

Sir John. But does he say to the contrary? 

Warn. If one would believe him, which, for my part, I do not, he 
has in a manner confessed it to me. 

Sir John. Hell and damnation! 

Warn. Courage, sir, never vex yourself; I'll warrant you 'tis all a lie. 

Sir John. But, how shall I be sure 'tis so? 

Warn. When you are married, you'll soon make trial, whether she 
be a maid or no. 

Sir John. I do not love to make that experiment at my own cost. 

Warn. Then you must never marry. 

Sir John. Ay, but they have so many tricks to cheat a man, which are 
entailed from mother to daughter through all generations: there *s no 
keeping a lock for that door, for which every one has a key. 

Warn. As, for example, their drawing up their breaths, with oh! 
you hurt me, can you be so cruel? then, the next day, she steals a visit 
to her lover, that did you the courtesy beforehand, and in private tell 
him how she cozened you; twenty to one but she takes out another 
lesson with him, to practise the next night, 

Sir John. All this while, miserable I must be their May-game! 

Warn. 'Tis well, if you escape so; for commonly he strikes in with 
you, and becomes your friend. 

Sir John. Deliver me from such a friend, that stays behind with my 
wife, when I gird on my sword to go abroad. 

Wor\s, III, 59-60. 

Lelie. Du chagrin qui vous tient quel peut etre Pobjet? 

Leandre. Moi? 

Lelie. Vous-meme. 

Leandre. Pourtant je n'en ai point sujet. 

Lelie. Je vois bien ce que c'est, Celie en est la cause. 

Ltandre. Mon esprit ne court pas apres si peu de chose. 

Lelie. Pour elle vous aviez pourtant de grands dessems; 

Mais il faut dire ainsi lorsqu'ils se trouvent vains. 



Leandre. Si j'etois assez sot pour cherir ses caresses, 

Je me moquerois bien de toutes vos finesses. 

Lelie. Quelles finesses done? 

LSandre. Mon Dieu! nous savons tout. 

Lelie. Quoi? 

LSandre. Votre precede de Tun a 1'autre bout. 

Lelie. C'est de Phebreu pour moi, je n'y puis rien comprendre. 

Leandre. Feignez, si vous voulez, de ne me pas entendre; 

Mais, croyez-moi, cessez de craindre pour un bien 

Ou je serois fache de vous disputer rien; 

J'aime fort la beaute qui n'est point profanee, 

Et ne veux point bruler pour une abandonnee. 

Lelie. Tout beau, tout beau, Leandre. 

Leandre. Ah! que vous etes bon! 

Allez, vous dis-je encor, servez-la sans soupfon: 

Vous pourrez vous nommer homme a bonnes fortunes. 

II est vrai, sa beaute n'est pas des plus communes; 

Mais en revanche aussi le reste est fort commun. 

Lelie. Leandre, arretons la ce discours importun. 

Contre moi tant d'efforts qu'il vous plaira pour elle; 

Mais sur tout retenez cette atteinte mortelle : 

Sachez que je m'impute a trop de lachete 

D'entendre mal parler de ma divinite, 

Et que j'aurai toujours bien moins de repugnance 

A souffrir votre amour qu'un discours qui l'ojffense. 

Leandre. Ce que j'avance ici me vient de bonne part. 

Lelie. Quiconque vous 1'a dit, est un lache, un pendard : 

On ne peut imposer de tache a cette fille; 

Je connois bien son coeur. 

Leandre. Mais enfin Mascarille 

D'un semblable proces est juge competent: 

C'est lui qui la condamne. 

Ulie. Oui? 

Ltandrc. Lui-meme. 

Lelie. II pretend 

D'une fille d'honneur insolemment medire, 

Et que peut-etre encor je n'en ferai que rire? 

Gage, qu'il se dedit. 


Leandre. Et moi gage que non. 

Lehe. Parbleu je le ferois mourir sous le baton, 

S'll m'avoit soutenu des faussetes pareilles. 

Uandre. Moi, je lui couperois sur-le-champ les oreilles, 

S'il n'etoit pas garant de tout ce qu'il m'a dit. 

L'fitourdi, Act III, scene 3. 

Sir Mart. You are very melancholy, methinks, sir. 

Sir John. You are mistaken, sir. 

Str Mart. You may dissemble as you please, but Mrs. Millisent lies 
at the bottom of your heart. 

Sir John. My heart, I assure you, has no room for so poor a trifle. 

Sir Mart. Sure you think to wheedle me; would you have me imagine 
you do not love her? 

Sir John. Love her! why should you think me such a sot? love a 
prostitute, an infamous person! 

Sir Mart. Fair and soft, good Sir John. 

Str John. You see, I am no very obstinate rival, I leave the field free 
to you: Go on, sir, and pursue your good fortune, and be as happy as 
such a common creature can make thee. 

Sir Mart. This is Hebrew-Greek to me; but I must tell you, sir, I will 
not suffer my divinity to be profaned by such a tongue as yours. 

Sir John. Believe it; whate'er I say, I can quote my author for. 

Sir Mart. Then, sir, whoever told it you, lied in his throat, d'ye see, 
and deeper than that, d'ye see, in his stomach, and his guts, d'ye see: 
Tell me she's a common person! he 's a son of a whore that said it, and 
I'll make him eat his words, though he spoke 'em in a privy-house. 

Sir John. What if Warner told me so? I hope you'll grant him to be 
a competent judge in such a business. 

Sir Mart. Did that precious rascal say it ? Now I think on 't, I'll 
not believe you: In fine, sir, I'll hold you an even wager he denies it. 

Sir John. I'll lay you ten to one, he justified it to your face. 

Sir Mart. I'll make him give up the ghost under my fist, if he does 
not deny it. 

Sir John. I'll cut off his ears upon the spot, if he does not stand to 't. 

Worfa III, 64-65. 

The result of this borrowing is not a transfer of Quinault's or 


of Moliere's method, style, or excellence. The farce is just as 
truly British, just as truly in Dryden's vein, as it would have been 
if Dryden had invented all of it. Not much of the immortal 
Moliere could have reached England by means of a vehicle as 
far from the center of his art as Ul-Ltourdi, even if the play had 
come over entire. The degree of influence is reduced by Dryden's 
success in making the play seem British. Material not central to 
Moliere's art was borrowed to form part of the matter, but 
none of the form or spirit of Dryden's play. 5 


The Damoiselles a la Mode (September, 1668), printed in 1667, 
Richard Flecknoe's only comedy, is an avowed attempt to bring 
Moliere to England. 6 The play is a close adaptation of L'colc 
des maris and Les Prtcieuses ridicules, with a few suggestions 
from L'ficole des femmes. 7 All this is frankly set forth in the 
preface. 8 Since Langbaine did not know that it had ever been 
acted, there is reason to believe that it had little success with the 
public. Copies of the play are rare. Writing with Moliere's works 
open before him, Flecknoe avoided making a literal translation 

5 Allen (op. at., pp. 210-25), offers a more detailed analysis of the relation of 
Dryden's play to Moliere's. 

6 This rare book has never been sponsored by a publisher, I have used a photostat 
of the British Museum copy of the sole edition, which was printed for the author, 
London, 1667. 

7 I cannot believe the vague similarities cited by Gillet show the use of Sganarelle, 
Le Medecin malgre lut, and Le Misanthrope. See Moliere en Angleterre, pp. 43-44; 
Appendices I and II, pp. 144-99. 

8 "This Comedy is taken out of several Excellent Pieces of Moliere. The main plot of 
the Damoiselles out of his Pretieusee's Ridiculee's, the Counterplot of Sganarellc, out 
of his Escole des femmes, and out of the Escole des Marys, the two Naturals? all 
which like so many fretieuse stones, I have brought out of France, and as a Lapidary 
set one Jewel to adorn our English Stage: And I hope my setting them, and giving 
them an English foyle, has nothing dimimsht of their native luster. And I have not 
only done like one who makes a posie out of divers flowers in which he has nothing 
of his own (besides the collection, and ordering them) but like the "Bee, have ex- 
tracted the spirit of them into a certain Quintessence of mine own . . . and I hope with 
that success, as I have not only made the Language of the Author, English, but even 
the spirit, We, and quickness of it too." 


at any time. He wrote clear, idiomatic English, in which the 
longer speeches of Moliere are regularly shortened and sim- 
plified. He added a few jests and occasionally he added a 
new figure of speech, but, in general, the matter belongs to 

The play opens with the plot of L'Ecole des mans, Bonhomme 
and Sganarelle arguing about the way to educate young girls. 
Bonhomme is the genial father, and his two daughters, Mary 
and Anne, ungraciously reward him by being veritable predeuses. 
They are wooed by Du Buisson and La Fleur; Les Pr6cieuses 
ridicules is repeated in substantial entirety, with Mascarille and 
Jodelet as the masquerading valets. Meanwhile Sganarelle and his 
daughter Isabella, who is described in the dramatis personae as 
"a witty Damoiselle," are going through the essentials of the 
action of Utcolc des mans. Isabella's successful lover is called 
Valerio. A friend to Valerio, named Egasto, replaces the valet in 
Moliere. The comic business of Alan and Georgette in relation 
to Arnolphe, in L'Ecole des femmes, has been largely transferred 
to "Two Natural Fools" and Sganarelle. The place of the action 
is Paris. 

Flecknoe lost the spirit of Moliere, although he says he tried 
to keep it. The assignment of the action of two characters from 
Moliere to a single person in the combined play works havoc 
with all characterization. The combination of the two plays di- 
minishes the significance of the mixture far below the level of 
either of the original components. Bonhomme, for example, can- 
not be a plain bourgeois like Georgibus and yet a broad-minded 
man like Ariste. He has been lenient with his daughters and does 
not deserve to have them turn into silly precieuses. The decision 
to have Mary and Anne finally marry Du Buisson and La Fleur 
removes the sting from Moliere's Madelon and Cathos; it also 
makes the piqued young men absurd for trying to punish the 
girls and then for taking them with their affectations undimin- 


ished. The pain is gone from Sganarelle's loss of Isabella, for 
Bonhomme has been through his troubles too. In Moliere some 
farcical elements exist, but they do not blur the satiric lesson of 
either play. Moliere's audience knows a man is a fool to try to 
win a girl's love by force and that women are silly to confuse 
romance and preciositt with actual marriage and sensible human 
speech. Flecknoe's audience could wonder whether any man 
knows how to rear young women and might infer that love 
is so strong that suitors will swallow any amount of nonsense to 
marry the young women of their fancy. One may charge the 
failure of Flecknoe to his incompetence, but in his defense it 
can be demonstrated that his avoidance of didactic implications 
and his development of a bustling intrigue is like the work of 
almost any of the "Sons of Ben." Flecknoe's preface may be 
interpreted as indicating his inability to judge his own work, 
although it may also suggest, what Dryden's treatment suggests, 
that the early adapters had no discernible respect for Moliere. 
Flecknoe used matter high -in Moliere's art and might have been 
greatly influenced, if matter, spirit, and form had not sunk under 
the weight of the adapter's bad judgment. 


During the year following the staging of Flecknoe's extraor- 
dinary play, John Lacy adapted Lc Medecm malgre lui to the 
English scene and taste. To this he gave the title The Dumb 
Lady, or the Farrier Made Physician (1669). Ward thinks it 

what kind of entertainment so experienced a comedian thought most 

likely to suit the tastes of the public for whom he catered In other 

words, he is uniformly and unblushingly coarse, and whatever he has 
of wit is lost in his grossness. 9 

The public taste which Ward deplores is apparently like that of 

9 Ward, English Dramatic Literature, III, 449. 


Gerard Langbaine, who wrote that the reader "will easily see 
that our Author has much improv'd the French play." 10 

Le Medecin malgr^ lui is a rollicking three-act farce revolving 
about the unusual revenge that comes to Sganarelle, a drunken 
fagot-cutter, because his wife resents his beating her. Sganarelle, 
she tells Valere when he is urgently seeking a doctor to cure 
Lucinde of a sudden fit of dumbness, is a great doctor, but he 
has a foible for disguise and will not acknowledge his profession 
until he is beaten into it. Once beaten into it, Sganarelle plays 
the physician in the grand style, makes money, flirts outrageously 
with the servant women, beats rich Geronte to make him a doc- 
tor too, and finally cures his patient, who was merely feigning 
until she could marry Leandre instead of Valere. The satire ap- 
pears when Sganarelle and Leandre burlesque the hocus pocus 
of doctors. At the close of this strange interlude, his wife leads 
Sganarelle back to his fagots. 

Lacy's method of dramatic composition here consisted essen- 
tially of taking Moliere's farce, stretching it to five-act length 
and then filling up the gaps with additional material copied from 
the life of the time. Occasionally the reader will catch echoes of 
Moliere's phrasing, but the bulk of the dialogue is thoroughly 
made over. Nearly all of Moliere's situations and episodes are 
retained. The satire against the medical profession is blunted and 
shortened. Sganarelle's unimportant equivocal advances to the 
nurse Jacqueline are elaborated, amplified, and reciprocated with 
a bald relish for indecency. The unwelcome suitor of Lucinde 
is brought forward in the character of Squire Softhead, as igno- 
rant, as boastful, as poltroonish a specimen of the country gull 
as one can find. His usual oath, "by the heart of a horse," had 
comic reiteration in inept places. Many changes, of which these 
are typical, when combined with little alterations and additions 
of slighter character on every page, give a thoroughly English 

10 Account of the English Dramatic^ Poets, p. 318. 


picture on a well-covered French canvas. None of Moliere's spirit 
or peculiar method reappears, but much of the farcical basis in 
his plot is clearly seen. L 'Amour mtdecin also provided an episode 
which shows how a closely imitated passage follows and yet 
misses the excellence of the original crisp dialogue: 

Lisette. [suivante de Lucinde qui est la fille de Sganarelle] Ah, mal- 
heur! Ah, disgrace! Ah pauvre Seigneur Sganarelle! ou pourrai-je te 

Sganarelle. Que dit-elle 1&? 

Lisette. Ah! miserable pere! que feras-tu, quand tu sauras cette 

Sganarelle. Que sera-ce? 

Lisette. Ma pauvre maitresse! 

Sganarelle. Je suis perdu. 

Lisette. Ah! 

Sganarelle. Lisette! 

Lisette. Quelle infortune! 

Sganarelle. Lisette! 

Lisette. Quel accident! 

Sganarelle. Lisette! 

Lisette. Quelle fatalite! 

Sganarelle. Lisette! 

Lisette. Ah, Monsieur! 

Sganarelle. Qu'est-ce? 

Lisette. Monsieur. 

Sganarelle. Qu'y a t-il? 

Lisette. Votre fille. 

Sganarelle. Ah, ah! 

Lisette. Monsieur, ne pleurez done point comme cela; car vous me 
feriez nre. 

Sganarelle. Dis done vite. 

Lisette. Votre fille, toute saisie des paroles que vous lui avez dites, et 
de la colere effroyable ou elle vous a vu centre elle, est montee vite 
dans sa chambre, ct pleine de desespoir, a ouvert la fenetre qui regarde 
sur la riviere. 

Sganarelle. He bien ? 

Lisette. Alors, levant les yeux au ciel: "Non, a-t-elle dit, il m'est im- 


possible de vivre avec le courroux de mon pere, et puisqu'il me renonce 
pour sa fille, je veux mourir." 

Sganarelle, Elle s'est jetee. 

Lisette. Non, monsieur: elle a ferine tout doucement la fenetre, et 
s'est allee mettre sur son lit. La elle s'est prise a pleurer amerement; et 
tout d'un coup son visage a pali, ses yeux se sont tournes, le coeur lui 
a manque, et elle m'est demeuree entre les bras. 

Sganarelle. Ah, ma fille! 

Lisette. A force de la tourmenter, je 1'ai fait revenir; mais cela lui 
reprend de iroment en moment, et je crois qu'elle ne passera pas la 

Sganarelle. Champagne, Champagne, Champagne, vite, qu'on m'aille 
querir des medecins, et en quantite: oji n'en peut trop avoir dans une 
pareille a venture. Ah, ma fille! ma pauvre fille! 

U Amour medecin, Act I, scene 6. 

Nib[by t a niece to Gernette, the father of OlmdaJ. O wo is me, and 
wo unto us all, O this Uncle, this wicked Uncle. 

Ger[nette]. Alack, what's the matter? 

Nib. O cruel destiny! O fatal fortune! 

Ger. Why, Niece Nibby f what's the matter? 

Nib. That ever I should live to see this day. 

Nur[se], O my dear Mrs. Nibby, what's the misfortune? 

Nib. O where should I find this cursed Uncle of mine? 

Ger. Here I am Nibby, what's the danger? 

Nib. You are undone and ruin'd. 

Ger. How, undone and ruin'd? do not delay me. 

Nib. O your daughter, your daughter you wicked wretch, I am not 
able to say more for grief. 

All Ah, Oh, ah, ah. (All weep.) 

Ger. Tell me quickly what's the matter. 

Nib. Why, your daughter's grown desperate mad at your unkind- 
ness; ran to the window that stands over the River, and there opening 
the great casement. 

Ger. O what did she then? 

Nib. Why, lifting up her hands and eyes to that good place, where 
you will never come Uncle; she loudly cryed; Since my father has 
abandon'd me, 'tis time for me to quit this life of mine. 

Ger. And so threw her self into the River? 


Nib. No, it seems she did not like that kind o death, 

Ger. Why, what then? 

Ntb. Why then she ran like lightning to the Table, where your 
Pocket-Pistol lay. 

Ger. And so shot her self with that? 

Nib. No, it seems there was no powder i' th' pan, but bitterly sigh- 
ing and weeping, at last she ran and desperately threw her self upon 
her bed, and then growing paler and paler, by degrees fell into a deadly 

Ger. And so dyed? 

Ntb. Stay, stay, you'r too quick for your daughter; but with much 
rubbing, tumbling, and tossing her, I brought her to life again; so 
leaving her at deaths door, I came to tell you the news. 

Ger. Where are my servants? run, bid 'em run, [etc., etc.] 

The Dumb Lady, Act IV (1672 quarto, pp. 63-64). 

The Lacy capable of taking the edge from sharp lines, as he 
obviously does in the above translation, would have had no ap- 
plause. But there was another Lacy, a man with a talent, differ- 
ent from Moliere's, it is true, but pleasing to his time. He was 
able to present gross sexual flippancies with sufficient wit to make 
them palatable to his age. Without attempting any defense of 
the vogue for such material, the historian may properly note 
that Lacy is facile in his smut and occasionally witty. Many may 
still be amused at the injured pride of Isabel who weeping ex- 
claimed, "To think that ever I should live to be call'd baud; if 
he had call'd me whore, 'twould ne'er have vext me; but to be 
call'd baud, is to be thought an old woman unworthy of copula- 
tion." 11 

There is ribald laughter in Drench's prenuptial vows to the 
Nurse, who was already married to Jarvis and cuckolding him 
with the latter's master: 

Doct and now I am resolved to marry thee Nurse, for I see thou 

lovest me truly. 

11 Lacy, The Dumb Lady, Act II (1672 quarto, p. 38). 


Nurse. I, but Doctor, you know I've a Husband. 

Doct. Hang him, I were a pitiful Doctor to suffer any body to live 
that I have occasion to have dead. 

Nurse. If it could be done with a safe conscience. 

Doct. Why, if it be safely done, it's done with a safe conscience; I see 
thou'rt a fool and knows nothing. 

Nurse. You Learned men know best, I leave all to you. 

Doct. Thou shalt lead the sweetest life Nurse; first I will get my son 
and heir my self Nurse, and then thou shalt have a brave gallant with 
a fine white Periwig that cost twenty pound Nurse. 

Nurse. O dear Doctor, how sweetly you express your love to me. 

Doct. And then your gallant shall carry you abroad, and bring you 
home o'nights; so well pleas'd, Nurse! 

Nurse. O my most obliging Doctor! 

Doct. And then thou shalt throw that gallant off, Nurse, and have 
one with a brave brown Periwig, Nurse. 

Nurse. Did ever man shew such true love to a woman? let all hus- 
bands take example by this dear Doctor. 

Doct. And then thou shalt have one with a brave black Periwig, 
Nurse, so that thou shalt have children of all colours i* th' Rain-bow: 
but why does thou weep. Nurse? 

Nurse. I weep for joy to think what a comfortable life I shall lead 
with you. 

Act IV (p. 54). 

Such passages as these, which are central to Lacy's coarse 
spirit, are derived from English influences; and so Moliere's ma- 
terial, extensive as it is, does not stand at the center of Lacy's 
play. Instead, the English fondness for low intrigue and bawdy 
talk in the theatre is fully satisfied by a play that depends upon 
Moliere for its framework. Lacy has covered Moliere's dramatic 
skeleton with a body that is no credit to Lacy and too remote to 
be a discredit to Moliere. 


Sir Salomon, or the Cautious Coxcomb (c. 1669), by John 
Caryl, is the second adaptation by a Restoration playwright in 


which the author promptly acknowledged the use of Moliere. 12 
Lfficole des femmes undoubtedly inspired Caryl's play and pro- 
vided most of the details of the major plot. Many passages are 
little more than free translations. The prominent subplot utilizes 
other material from Moliere's play, but is substantially original 
in the limited sense that it is conventional material of the English 
theatre, adapted to the situation. The characters are adequately 
Anglicized in manners, and British place names are carefully 
substituted; no foreign trace is discernible to a spectator. It is 
an amusing fact that the only play of Moliere's to arouse com- 
plaint in France for alleged verbal indecency was here rendered 
inoffensively. Not a remnant of the potage, the enfants par 
I'oreille, and the chaudtires bouillantes is found; and the inept 
translation of the il m'a pris passage would destroy the chance 
for Climene's obscene imagination. Genest reports that the 
play was successfully staged and well received when it was pro- 
duced. 13 

An examination of Caryl's changes, rather than of his bor- 
rowings, may give us some clue to the temper of the age. In 
L'cole des femmes we have an intensely serious moral purpose 
standing out clearly above a characteristically simple but well- 
motivated intrigue. Arnolphe's character is fully developed and 
always the chief interest. But there is also a bustling intrigue that 
satisfies interest on a lower level. A master of theatrical necessi- 
ties, Moliere floats his high seriousness on a sea of French farce 
and commedia delV arte, both of which came readily from his 
ample memory. The action is brisk, full of comings and goings, 
mistakes in identity, unconscious betrayals, and even lively 
cudgels on Arnolphe's back. But this is not really Moliere's 
L'Ecole des femmes; it is theatrical sugar-coating; Moliere's real 
medicine is the satiric development found largely in Arnolphe's 

12 See quotation from the epilogue, above, p. 2. 
18 Some Account of the English Stage 1 1, 98, 


talks with Chrysalde, in his long soliloquies, in his asides, and 
in the total effect of the play. 

Caryl omits the character of Chrysalde. 14 As Sir Salomon Single 
(Arnolphe) has an estranged son, his desire to disinherit him 
by begetting a new heir beclouds the issue of educating a young 
woman. Mrs. Betty (Agnes) is ignorant, but the point is inci- 
dental and unimportant. The cast-off son, Mr. Single (Horace), 
loves Julia, the daughter of Wary, and their difficulties make Sir 
Salomon's education of Mrs. Betty seem still less important. 
Sir Salomon's quarrel with his son and his role of unreasonable 
father remove the emphasis from the comic fear of being 
cuckolded that motivated Arnolphe. The addition of Sir Arthur 
Addel, a typical Restoration would-be without wit or -courage, 
obscures Moliere's contribution still more. Moliere's extended 
satiric treatment of Les Maximes du manage is debased and 
shortened. Similarly the naive love of Agnes for Horace loses its 
charm in Mrs. Betty, who is an innocent but commonplace coun- 
try girl. Ralph (Alain) and Alike (Georgette) follow their low 
comedy way with little change, but no motive at all is given for 
Sir Salomon's keeping them with Mrs. Betty in a separate house, 
where he was known as Evans. The beating of Horace and his 
feigned injury is transferred by Caryl to Sir Arthur Addel, the 
gull and the butt of what feeble wit the play possesses, 

Ucole des femmes, the source of the plot of Sir Salomon, in- 
spired the play, if a totally uninspired product may be so de- 
scribed. But those qualities in Uficole des jemmcs which caused 
Moliere to be called the Shakespeare of France did not reappear. 
Caryl drew from Moliere what he might have drawn from 

14 In identifying Wary with Chrysalde, Miles (Influence of Moliere on Restoration 
Comedy, p. 237), makes a common mistake in tracing borrowings. A character is not 
borrowed or imitated if he is merely assigned the same action in the same plot device. 
Plot elements are very often transferred without any transfer of the character to whom 
the actions or speeches originally belonged. Chrysalde exists solely as a confidant of 
Arnolphe. Wary is not a friend of Sir Salomon, although the latter does once talk 
to him much as Arnolphe did to Chrysalde. 


Scarron, a facile plot with effective situations beyond Caryl's 
feeble powers of invention. As Caryl seems to be the first ever 
to compare Moliere to Shakespeare, one wonders whether he 
saw Moliere's excellences, or rejected them as not to the Res- 
toration purpose. Caryl's borrowings from L'fcole des femmes, 
extensive as they undoubtedly are, do not come from central or 
essential elements. He borrowed Moliere's skill in farce from a 
play in which farce is an incidental means to a comic end of 
greater import. But he did not borrow Moliere's real matter, nor 
Moliere's form and spirit. The end, the form, the spirit, and even 
the matter of Caryl's play are essentially British, It is impossible 
to trace to Moliere's influence even the slightly unusual fact that 
this Restoration play is clean verbally and free from mockery 
of conventional moral standards. 


The next play under consideration, The Amorous Widow, or 
the Wanton Wife (c. 1670), by Thomas Betterton, is a typical 
seventeenth-century story of an eager widow, Lady Laycock, 
with plenty of money and no sense of the ridiculous in her pre- 
tensions to youth and beauty. She relentlessly pursues the young 
men who court her niece, wavering between Lovemore, an ad- 
mirer of Brittle's faithless wife, and Cunningham, a suitor for 
the hand of Philadelphia, her niece. They finally dupe her with 
Merryman, actually a falconer, who poses as the Viscount Sans- 
Terre and helps the lovers with his gay impersonation. 15 George 

15 The role has been ascribed to Mascanlle of Les Precieuses ridicules. This is pos- 
sibly the source, but there are so many parallels to other plays and so many differ- 
ences from this one that internal evidence is inadequate proof of any particular origin. 
As a type Lady Laycock is found in Jonson and many of his successors. Beaumont 
and Fletcher taught others the device of marrying a gentleman gull to a low creature 
parading as a high. Would not Lady Laycock's masculine aggression suggest to 
Betterton that she be meted the same punishment as Sir Gregory Fop in Wit at Severed 
Weapons (c. 1608)? Would not this suggestion automatically produce a Viscount Sans- 
Terre in Betterton's mind without any thought of Mohere? Betterton's denouement 
resembles neither. Unlike Madelon and Cathos, Lady Laycock is irrevocably wedded 


Dandin, ou le man confondu provided what Betterton obviously 
intended to be the second plot. George Dandin, a rich farmer, 
has married into the decayed nobility to further his own social 
ambitions. His money has saved his wife's family from ruin, but 
has not brought him any respect from his new relations. His 
wife boldly asserts her freedom from bourgeois social standards 
by cuckolding him with Clitandre. Whenever Dandin complains 
to her parents, he is embarrassed by their ready belief in her 
transparent falsehoods and in his low-born incapacity to deserve 
or to understand her. When his final attempt to lock her out of 
the house results in her locking him out and charging him with 
drunkenness, he is forced to beg her pardon on his knees and 
promise to do better. Then he knows there is no escape; he might 
as well go drown himself. 16 

The actor-playwright converted the whole of George Dandin 
into a secondary plot without essentially changing it. The French 
text is followed pretty closely in entrances, exits, stage business, 
and the order of speeches. While adaptations and additional mat- 
ter are found, the speeches can generally be described as free 
translation. The language is slightly coarsened in some details. 
Two incidents in Moliere that recall French farce, Angelique's 
beating Dandin while pretending to strike Clitandre, 17 and the 
amusing mistakes of identity because of darkness, are reduced 
almost to the vanishing point. Moliere's material fills only thirty 
of the seventy-eight pages in the 1737 quarto. The primary in- 
trigue comprises the whole of the first two acts, the last six pages 
of Act III, the last ten pages of Act IV, and the first four and 

to her pretender. Unlike Sir Gregory and his type, she is spared a last-scene unmask- 
ing of her low-born mate. 

16 The evident resemblance of this action to Boccaccio, The Decameion, seventh 
day, fourth novel, is of no importance in this study. Betterton used Mohere Moliere 
used his own early farce, La Jalousie du Barboutlle, which he had probably based on 
Italian scenarios. These came more or less directly from Boccaccio, who derived the 
plot from its apparent origin in India, by means of The Book of Stnbad, direcdy or 
indirecdy. See Despois-Mesnard, ed., Oeuvres de Moliere, VI, 481-91. 

17 Act II, Scene 8. 


the last three of Act V. 18 The secondary plot from George Dandin 
is well linked to the widow intrigue by the appearance of Love- 
more (Clitandre) in both actions and by the placing of all events 
in one scene. The total impression of the play is an interesting 
study in emphasis. Moliere's clear presentation of the folly of 
marriage out of one's class, with its incidental satire of decayed 
nobility and of marriage without love between the principals, is 
clouded by the presence of the widow. By these associations, a 
satire on marriage degenerates into a mere dramatic conte h nre. 
As a guide to Restoration taste, The Amorous Widow shows that 
elements in Moliere could be taken over unchanged, when 
change was not needed to meet English standards. George Dan- 
din happens to be the only play of Moliere's to contain an in- 
triguing, adulterous wife. Moreover she is presented as victor in 
all battles of wits with her jealous husband. Moliere revealed his 
broad moral intention only by a clear, pitiless irony that no one 
can easily misinterpret, but Betterton distorted him completely 
and yet copied him whole. This first major translation of Moliere 
is therefore a masterpiece of plagiaristic economy, producing a 
great distortion with little change. Betterton's failure to catch 
any of the essential spirit of Moliere's high comedy is very sig- 
nificant. He had been sent to Paris some years before on a 
theatrical commission to study the French stage and to bring 
back all he could for use in England. Was Betterton, the greatest 
actor in Restoration England, and the most respectable morally, 
incapable of perceiving Moliere's earnestness behind his satiric 
laughter, or did he realize that moral earnestness had no appeal 
to the Restoration theatre goers ? In either case the age is clearly 
characterized, and its peculiar use of Moliere is illustrated. For 

18 Genest (op. at., I, 108) makes the misleading statement that Betterton added 
an underplot to Mohere's play, whereas Moliere's play became the underplot to Bet- 
terton's major plot Van Laun (Dramatic Wor^s of Moliere Rendered into English, 
IV, 336) and Charlanne (L f Influence francatse au xvn 9 sicclc, p. 287) repeat the 
error. Miles (op. cit., p. 225) corrects it. 


Betterton, as well as for the other authors, Moliere provided 
comic matter, farcical plots, and theatrically effective situations. 
Moliere's classic simplicity, his satire of the social follies, and 
his insistent social sanity, which is central to the spirit of his 
great comedies, were never adequately appreciated by Restoration 


In contrast with such triviality as Betterton's, we place Med- 
bourne's version of Lc Tartuffe. In Moliere's play, which is close 
to the center of his greatness in spirit, matter, and form, the 
reader will recall, we find the story of Orgon, who has been 
taken in by the religious pretensions of the impostor Tar- 
tuffe to such an extent that his own mother, his brother-in-law, 
and even his wife have not been able to undeceive him. Orgon 
insists that he will break the engagement of his daughter to 
Valere, whom she loves, in order to award her to the hypocritical 
Tartuffe. He even turns out his own son and deeds his property 
to the villain. Orgon's wife undertakes a denouement. Concealing 
her unbelieving husband beneath the table, she permits him to 
witness Tartuffe's unmistakable amatory advances, his renuncia- 
tion of religious sincerity, and his boast that he can lead Orgon 
by the nose. Like the most ordinary seducer, he argues that "le 
mal n'est que dans Teclat qu'on fait." Orgon's recovery of his 
sanity, though tardy, is instant and complete. With unmasked 
selfishness Tartuffe claims legal title to the property, but through 
the wise goodness of the king he is exposed as a felon in dis- 
guise, the property is recovered, and the family returns to nor- 
mal life. 

Let us see what the Restoration can make of this. Matthew 
Medbourne, an actor in the company at the Duke's Theatre, 
translated Le Tartuffe under the title of Tartuffe, or the French 
Puritan (c. April, 1670). Ready about a year after Moliere finally 


triumphed over temporary suppressions/ 9 Medbourne's play is 
bad enough as translation or as English verse to merit any 
amount of abuse, but it is the first attempt made during Res- 
toration times to transfer the high seriousness of the French 
comic master to the English stage. In his dedication he says: 

MY LORD, I Here Present Your Honour with the Master-Piece of 
MOLIERE'S Productions, or rather that of all French Comedy. 

What considerable Additional I have made thereto, in order to its 
more plausible Appearance on the English Theatre, I leave to be ob- 
served by those who shall give themselves the Trouble of Comparing 
the several Editions of this Comedy. How Successful it has prov'd in 
the Action, the Advantages made by the Actors, and the Satisfaction 
receiv'd by so many Audiences, have sufficiently proclaim'd. 

The "Additional" are not very great in bulk, and yet they 
follow a consistent plan. Moliere's dramatis personae are repro- 
duced, even in spelling, except that Elmire, Mariane, Valere, 
Cleante, Dorine, and Flipote are slightly altered to Elmira, 
Mariana, Valere, Cleanthes, Dorina, and Flypote respectively. 
Moliere mentioned Laurent, but kept him off stage; Laurence 
becomes Medbourne's only actual additional character. The 
wretched, inept, and often stupid translation proceeds speech by 
speech with entrances, exits, and scene divisions as in Moliere. 
Even the stage directions are generally carried over. So close is 
the rendering that he gives the direction, "Fillips," where modern 
editors of Moliere indicate a snap of the fingers was implied. 20 
There are some distinct changes. Four lines are added at the end 
of Act I, scene 4, 21 to introduce Laurence. In Act I, scene v, an 
index finger in the margin points out a two-line speech of Orgon's 

19 The five-year struggle (from May 12, 1664, when three acts of Le Tartu ffe were 
given in the festival series at Versailles, to February 5, 1669, when royal authorization 
was granted for public performance) makes the exact dating of its appearance im- 

20 Cf. Despois-Mesnard, ed., Oeuvres de Moliere , IV, 417, note 2, with Medbourne's 
Tartuffe, p. 8 My references to Medbourne are to the second quarto, 1707. I have 
not seen the first, 1670. 

d. t p. 7. 


used solely to divide a long speech of Cleante's (fifty-six lines in 
Moliere). He also permits Cleanthes to drop two lines of classic 
allusion. A second index finger points also to an added meeting 
between Laurence, Dorina, and Tartuff e, with which Act I, scene 
v closes. 22 The second act also closes with added matter between 
Dorina and Laurence, the devout-seeming servant of the pro- 
fessional divot. The Restoration tone will appear in a short quo- 

Laur . . . Though I am Tartuff e's Man, and receive Wages of him, 

His Agreement with my Friends was otherwise; but since he 

Has got me fast, he uses me at his Pleasure. I perceiving 

This, and to creep into his Favour, pretended by his Sanctity 

To be a Convert, and took upon me the Humour you have 

Seen: and by this means have won so much upon him, 

That I am his Secretary, the Repository of his Privacies, and 

What not? and (I must tell you) among his Acquaintance 

Have an Interest. 

Dor. But Laurence, all this concerns me nothing; this Interest 

That you boast of, is the main thing I fear: the Austerity 

Of your Life, I doubt, will ne're bear with my merry Disposition. 

Laur. For that, Dorina, trouble not your self; 

I see you know me not; for if you did, 

You'd say that your Temper and mine were both 

ModelFd alike: for I can be as Blithe 

And Frolicksome as the most wanton Courtier. 

[Sings with Anticf^ Postures, and after Dances a Jig.] 


Spend not thy Time in vain, my Love, 

But answer my Desires: 
Be Bucksome, Blithe, my pretty Dove, 

Meet me with equal Fires. 

22 Ibid., pp. 11-13. Tartuffc does not appear in Moh&re's play until Act III, scene 2. 
In the preface Mohere explains (op. at., IV, 375) ". . . j'ai mis tout Tart et tous les 
soins qu'il m'a &e possible pour bien distinguer le personnage de PHypocrite d'avec 
celui du vrai Devot. J'ai employe pour cela deux actes entiers a preparer la venue de 
mon sc616rat." 


For if thou longer dost delay, 

Thy Beauties soon will fade thee: 
In Honour thou are bound to pay 

Those Debts which Nature made thee. 

Since my Designs are fair and just, 

How canst thou well Deny me? 
In faithful Laurence thou may'st trust, 

Then come and he down by me. 

This is a touch to shew you that I can . . . 

Dor. Yea, marry, this is somewhat like; I perceive there 

May be some hopes in the matter; 

Thus she draws out damaging knowledge about Tartuffe and 
then goes hastily to tell Orgon's anxious family as the act closes. 
The translation is again interrupted in Act IV, scene 2, with 
a scene in which Laurence betrays Tartuffe more definitely to 
Dorina and advises the family to arrange a scene between Elmira 
and Tartuffe with Orgon as a concealed witness, a needless addi- 
tional motivation. The matter at the beginning of the last act is 
rearranged to show Dorina with Cleanthes, but after a few pages 
it returns to Moliere's scene division and speeches. This act under- 
goes more change than the others. Laurence enters with a box 
of papers he has stolen from his master to prove his fidelity to 
Dorina. Finally Medbourne inserts a "Dance of Eight," which 
Orgon witnesses. Then Orgon arises and delivers the translation 
of Moliere's last speech. The epilogue, credited to Sedley, de- 
serves full quotation: 

Many have been the vain Attempts of Wit, 
Against the still-prevailing Hypocrite. 
Once (and but once) a Poet got the Day, 
And Vanquish'd Busy in a Puppet Play. 
But Busy Rallying, Arm'd with Zeal and Rage, 
Possest the Pulpit, and Pull'd down the Stage. 
To Laugh at English knaves is dangerous then, 
Whilst English Fools will think 'em Honest Men. 


But sure no Zealous Rabby will Deny us 

Free Leave to Act our Monsieur Ananias. 

A Man may say (without being thought an Atheist) 

There are damn'd Rogues amongst the French and Papist, 

That fix Salvation to short Bands and Hair, 

That Belch and Snuffle to prolong a prayer. 

That use (enjoy the creature) to express 

Plain Whoring, Gluttony, and Drunkenness; 

And in a decent way Perform 'em too, 

As well, nay better far, alas, than you : 

Whose fleshly Failings are but Fornication; 

We Godly Phrase it, Gospel Propagation; 

Just as Rebellion was call'd Reformation. 

Though Zeal stand Gentry at the Gate of Sm, 

Yet all that have the Word, pass freely in; 

Silent and in the Dark for fear of Spies 

We march, and take Damnation by Surprize : 

There's not a Roaring Blade about the Town 

Can go so far towards Hell for Half-a-Crown, 

As I for Six-pence, 'cause I know the Way: 

For want of Guides Men are too apt to stray. 

Therefore give Ear to what I shall Advise. 

Let every Married Man that's Rich and Wise 3 

Take a Tartu ffe of known Ability, 

To Teach, and to Encrease his Family; 

Who may, to settle lasting Reformation, 

First Get his Son, then Give him Education. 23 

It has often been remarked that Lc Tartuffe, despite Moliere's 
insistence that he was only attacking hypocrites who affect a 
false piety, is always in the mind of any Frenchman who turns 
against the church and its representatives. Many think it was the 
author's real intention to attack piety by associating it closely 
with hypocrisy, and that his prefatory protestation against such 

23 Gillet (op. at., p. 107 n.) says "L'epilogue est attribue a Sedley (Works, 1722, 
t I, p. ii ; The Works of the Most Celebrated Minor Poets, 1749, t. I, p 118). D'autre 
part, une note dans une autre edition de Sedley (1716, t. I, p. 14), ainsi que Jacob 
(Poetical Register, p. 180), Whmcop (List, p 260), Davies (t. II, p. 63), et le Diet, 
of Nat. Biogr. Tattnbucnt a Lord Dorset." 


a purpose was a tactful defense. Later imprisoned for his Catholi- 
cism, Medbourne probably felt a considerable degree of oppo- 
sition to Puritanism and made its satire the purpose of his 
translation. Incidentally this is the only interpretation that would 
have had any meaning in England. In France Le TartuQe may 
have been an attack on la cabale dcs devots, on the Port-Royal 
Movement, or on the Catholic Church proper. Of all this Med- 
bourne himself, if we may judge by his crude knowledge of the 
French language, probably knew nothing. A satire on the Puri- 
tans would appeal to the old Cavalier spirits, who were thick 
about the court and the playhouses. Medbourne's sub-title reveals 
his interpretation, and the epilogue drives home the application. 
On the side of technical dramaturgy, one would naturally hope 
that a close translation would provide an influential model. 
Medbourne's rather slight alterations were generally in the direc- 
tion of normalizing the play to English standards. Moliere 
proudly pointed to the delay of Tartuffe's entrance until the third 
act. Medbourne sent him across the stage at the end of Act I. 
Tartuffe's servant Laurent was mentioned as an off-stage person 
by Moliere. Medbourne developed him into an accomplice of 
Tartuffe acting as his servant, who for love of the pert Dorina 
turned traitor to the evil cause. Moliere was content with a sud- 
den denouement, based on royal intervention. Medbourne tried 
to motivate the end more fully by having Laurence (Laurent) 
and Dorina secure the cabinet of valuable papers, so that the 
retained intervention is redundant. Medbourne mentions a sister 
of Valere as marrying Damis, so that three weddings close the 
story instead of one. The dance of eight people and Laurence's 
proof of his true character as a "wanton courtier" behind a mask 
of Puritanism join these other elements to destroy some of the 
unity of plot and to cloud the clear singleness of Moliere's pur- 
pose. It was unlikely that English playwrights would find any 
novel model of structure here. 



In The Miser (January, 1672) Shadwell succeeded in trans- 
ferring to the English scene most of the material and little of 
the spirit of UAvare. The considerable alterations, aside from the 
necessary changes in local color, have the general effect of lower- 
ing the social and moral tone. Goethe may speak of UAvare as 
a sublime tragedy, but the level of The Miser is that of realistic 
comedy. Shadwell seems a bit niggard in his gratitude to his 
source, when he says in his preface: 

The Foundation of this Play I took from one of Mohere's calPd 
UAvare; but that having too few Persons, and too little Action for an 
English Theatre, I added to both so much that I may call more than 
half of this Play my own, and I think I may say without Vanity, that 
Moliere's Part of it has not suflfer'd in my Hands; nor did I ever know 
a French Comedy made use of by the worst of our Poets, that was not 
better'd by 'em. 'Tis not Barrenness of Wit or Invention, that makes 
us borrow from the French, but Laziness. 24 

As the dialogue was essentially reconstructed throughout and an 
extensive subplot was added, Shadwell was not necessarily dis- 
honest. The most astounding element in his complacence is his 
blindness to the values of Moliere's classic character comedy. To 
him the play was an intrigue, an interesting set of incidents that 
involved the dramatic excellence of novelty, suspense, and sur- 
prising turns of fortune. Apparently nothing more. In the origi- 
nal prologue he confesses shame at "stealing from the French" 
and conceals his name from the audience, not because of mere 
theft but because of the shamefulness of using such matter, 

... in which true Wit's as rarely found, 
As mines of Silver are in English Ground. 

Twice in this prologue he refers to farce from France and indi- 
cates clearly that he thinks UAvare mere "French nonsense" 

^ Wor^ of Shadwell (1720), III [7]. 


that should please because it has "small Stock of Brain." 25 Evi- 
dently piqued at the failure of The Humorists (c. December, 
1670), he resolved to abandon the memory of Jonson for the 
profits of Lacy, Caryl, and Betterton, whose use of material from 
Moliere he frankly imitated. 

UAvarc, based on the Aulularia of Plautus, presents the miser 
Harpagon willing to sacrifice even his family for money. He 
would compel his daughter filise to wed the senile Anselme, for 
the latter demands no dowry. He competes with his son Cleante 
for the lovely young Mariane. filise's lover Valere has entered 
Harpagon's domestic service in order to be near his beloved. 
Moliere develops much incidental comedy from Harpagon's as- 
tounding penuriousness in his household, but he clearly shows 
the complete disintegration of the family because of the father's 
character. In the end, the son's valet conceals a casket of the 
miser's treasure. Wealthy Anselme proves to be the long-lost 
father of Mariane and Valere. The lovers are happily united, 
the casket is restored to the distracted father, and the curtain 
falls as Anselme agrees to pay all wedding costs, including a 
new suit for Harpagon. 

To Moliere's mind, the essential social unit was the family, 
and like many a French author down to the present day, he 
thought he had proved the iniquity of any action if he showed 
that it led to domestic disintegration. In UAvare Harpagon's 
avarice forces his children to resort to every sort of subterfuge to 
gain those decent resources that a wise father would be solicitous 
to provide. Respect for parental authority, confidence in the 
goodness of the children, pleasure in each other's company, and 
love for the other members of the family have all disappeared 
in the family debacle. Moliere regarded this domestic anarchy 
as proof that Harpagon was a very foolish man. Such intense 
interest in the integrity of home life escaped Shadwell completely, 

&, III [8]. 


for he was content to invite our admiration for a son and a daugh- 
ter who are too heartlessly shrewd for their miserly father. Shad- 
well shifted the emphasis from Goldingham (Harpagon) to the 
son and daughter, who are clever, calculating, and heartless, fit 
for Restoration approval. The addition of cheating gamblers, seen 
in English theatres ever since Jonson's Bartholomew Fair, three 
cheap wenches, and a silly citizen's son to be gulled draws the 
attention to the usual English complicated plot. The degradation 
of tone and the substitution of ribald mockery for satiric earnest- 
ness show how far Shadwell had turned from his first two plays. 
As Dr. Borgman says, 

The final impression is that Shadwell's play concerns itself as much 
with the cheats and the fools as with the miser and his household. That 
the English writer neglected the opportunity for humour-portraiture 
inherent in the character of the miser and that he was willing to give 
so much space to riotous scenes in taverns and stews shows how he was 
turning from the type of play which he had praised so highly in the 
preceding year to a form of comedy based upon a less strict theory. 26 

This final impression to which Borgman refers is very far from 
ShadwelPs source in either spirit or matter. Neither does it recall 
French dramatic form. His attempt to naturalize the great Moliere 
is a failure. 


The seven Restoration plays discussed in this chapter were 
written and staged while Moliere was still alive and appearing 
regularly on the Parisian boards. The sources were furthermore 
in print before they were adapted. Communication between 
France and England was so easy that one must believe some of 
the playwrights had been in Paris and availed themselves of the 
best possible way of finding out what Moliere had to say. But 
note what the adaptations are like: 

26 Thomas Shadwell, p. 146. 


1. Moliere is respected a little less than Quinault in Sir Martin 

2. The Damoisdles a la Mode jumbles two plays into one and 
ruins both of them; 

3. a short farce has been padded to a full-length farce, The 
Dumb Lady, by the injection of conventional English stage real- 
ism and English smut; 

4. a great comedy of manners is debased into a mere comedy of 
intrigue called The Cautious Coxcomb; 

5. another thoughtful comedy of manners is reduced to a farci- 
cal underplot of The Amorous Widow, which is a commonplace 
comedy in the conventional style of the Restoration; 

6. Medbourne's Tartuffe is a serious but blundering effort to 
bring the great Moliere across The Channel; and 

7. The Miser is a degradation of an immortal comedy of char- 
acter into a ribald farce of London realism, garnished with the 
conventional English stage types. 

To fix in his memory. the unbridged chasm between the art 
of Moliere and these English adaptations, the reader is invited 
to compare the seven plays named above in form, in spirit, and 
in total matter with the following from which they have un- 
doubtedly borrowed: L'fitourdi, Les Precieuses ridicules, L'cole 
des mans, Uficole des femmes, Le M6decin malgre lui, George 
Dandin, Le Tartuffe, and L'Avare. 

While the last two English plays fail most egregiously to import 
spirit, manner, tone, or morality, they differ from the other five 
chiefly in the fact that the authors tried to understand Moliere 
and failed; the first five made no effort to respect the source. 
Several conclusions are clear. The form of Moliere left no least 
trace upon any of the seven plays* His spirit cannot be discovered 
to an appreciable degree in any one of them. His matter was 
used freely, but with a distortion into something of different 
import and with different values. It is recognizable, but it lacks 


significance. It makes the reader think of similes about breaking 
up great statuary into material to build stone fences with. Since 
these are precisely the most extensive efforts to Anglicize Moliere 
during his lifetime, the fact that none of them is ever ranked 
high in the history of Restoration comedy suggests that he was 
hardly the great model and example for the peculiar excellence 
of Restoration comedy. Was Moliere inherently unfriendly to 
the Restoration comic Zeitgeist? 


THE VOGUE of plays that mirrored the latest manners of 
the London court was due in large measure to Sir George 
Etherege's comedies. A clear-eyed, witty observer of the social 
scene, Etherege had the gift of putting social trifles into epi- 
grams of telling cadence. He raised the English comedy of man- 
ners to a high artistic level by his style and by his realistic 
reflection of the most amazing social life England has ever known. 
Some have asserted that this comic realism and this prose style 
came from Moliere. Obviously, to show that a literary influence 
produced such vague and pervasive qualities as style, or realism, 
one must demonstrate that the second author was acquainted 
with the first and that no other influences existed that could 
produce these results. Lightness, brilliance, delicacy of touch, and 
keenness of observation are too intangible for easy tracing. It 
is needless to add that only the deepest "hypnotism of the unique 
source" 1 would induce a scholar to insist that Etherege's style 
must have leaned heavily upon Moliere's merely because it is 
also decidedly good. 

But even the fact that Etherege's style is good had dropped 
from the minds of men, with the exception of Hazlitt's, for more 
than a century. More than any one else, the late Sir Edmund 
Gosse, in his influential article in The Cornhill Magazine? de- 
serves credit for restoring him to his rightful place in the history 
of Restoration drama. About 1880 Gosse discovered Etherege's 

x The phrase is from Monze, Problems and Methods of Literary History, p. 88. 

2 "Sir George Etheredge. A Neglected Chapter of English Literature," The Cornhill 
Magazine, XLIII (March, 1881), 284-304. Reprinted in Gosse's Seventeenth Century 
Studies, pp. 259-98. Later citations refer to the second printing. 


manuscript LetterbooJ^* in the British Museum Library and 
gained from it a keen admiration for the wit of the author. He 
also unearthed a 1664 quarto of Etherege's The Comical Revenge; 
or, Love in a Tub (March, 1664), which he said had been pre- 
viously assigned to 1669^ and thought he had thereby restored 
its author to his true chronological place ahead of Wycherley. 
This dating, he noted, shows Etherege to precede Dryden in the 
use of rhymed verse, which the latter had advocated but not yet 
attempted. 5 He also made the important observation that Ether- 
ege was the first writer of plays of the sort we agree to call Res- 
toration comedies of manners. The material was thus at hand 
upon which to restore 6 Etherege as the man who "virtually 
founded English comedy as it was successively understood by 
Congreve, Goldsmith, and Sheridan." 7 But instead of seeing this 
rediscovered comedy as a reflection of Restoration life or as a 
lineal descendant, with some mutations, of pre-Restoration Eng- 

3 Now in print. Rosenfeld, Letterboo^ of Sir George Etherege. 

4 Gibber's Lives of the Poets (1753), III, 33, gives 1664 a s the date of the first appear- 
ance of the play. This correction of Langbame is offered without comment. Genest 
(Some Account of the English Stage, I, 54) says, "this play. [Comical Revenge] 
gained the company more reputation than any preceding Comedy (Downes) it was 
written by Etheredge and licensed for printing July 8, 1664 " Apparendy Sir Edmund 
had overlooked these entries He says in The Cornhill Magazine article (see note 2, 
p. 285), "According to all the bibliographer*, old and new, Etheredge's first play [my 
italics] was She Would If She Could, 1668, immediately followed by The Comical 
Revenge, first printed in 1 669. . Oldys, however, mentions that he had heard of s 
but never seen, an edition of this latter play of 1664." Two years later, in the reprint 
in Seventeenth Century Studies, the words "first play'* are replaced by the more 
conservative "earliest publication." But the tenor of the article and its logic are based 
on the idea that Gosse had advanced the date of Etherege's entry into Restoration 
comedy to an earlier date than had hitherto been held. 

5 Nicoll (Restoration Drama, pp 359, 362) dates The Rival Ladies (c June, 1664) 
after The Comical Revenge (March, 1664). Nicoll vitiates the discovery of Gosse by 
saying (pp. 96-97): "There is no doubt that Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery, was first early as Jan. 25, 1661/2, he was penning a play in heroic couplets [He] 

probably got his plays acted a trifle later than those of the future poet-laureate 

On the other hand ... his plays in manuscript may well have been circulated among 
the court wits in 1661 and 1662." 

6 Gosse was right in insisting that after his time, Etherege's literary reputation 
had undeservedly faded away. 

7 Gosse, Seventeenth Century Studies, p. 266. The idea is emphatically endorsed 
by Palmer (Comedy of Manners, p. 31), and has wide acceptance. 


lish comedy, Gosse undertook to explain Etherege's invention 
as the result of an acquaintance with the plays of Moliere, which 
he imagined Etherege possessed. 

Let us inspect the foundation on which Gosse based such an 
important conclusion. It is of two sorts, external evidence from 
the known facts of Etherege's life, and internal evidence from 
the first play itself. No one has ever discovered any exact in- 
formation about the life of Etherege before March, 1664, when 
The Comical Revenge made him famous. The time and place 
of his birth, the place and character of his education, his resi- 
dence and associations before 1664, and similar data are not 
vouched for in any particularity by contemporary documents. A 
century later, literary gossip or tradition is recorded by Oldys 
in meager and uncertain words. " Tis thought he had some edu- 
cation at the University of Cambridge, but it seems he travelled 
into France, and perhaps Flanders also, in his younger years; and 
at his return, studied, for a while, the Municipal Laws, at one 
of the Inns of Court in London". 8 A list of the books which 
Etherege had in Ratisbon in 1689 showed that for each English 
title there were about four French, including Greek and Latin 
classics in French translations. Among these were listed "Oeuvres 
de Moliere. 2 tomes." But this tells us little enough about the 
Etherege of more than twenty-five years earlier. 

In contrast with the meagerness of our knowledge about 
Etherege before 1664, we can find plenty of authentic evidence 
that after that date he had ready access to the court group and 
lived as a witty connoisseur of fashionable Restoration society, 
keen, lazy, amiable, and dissolute. We have in the Letterbool^ 
an unusually clear idea of the older man, 

. . . how and upon what topics he wrote to his friends; what his 
amusements were; what books he was in the habit of reading; how he 

8 Biogtaphia Bntanmca, HI, 1841. Oldys cites his authorities for these statements in 
the margin: "Thos. Coxeter's MS. notes on Langbaine and Gildon's Langbaine p. 53.*' 


bore himself, as an English gentleman, in a difference with Lady 
Etherege, or with the burgher precisians of Ratisbon. Dryden is but a 
mythical figure beside the living personality of Etherege as revealed 
for us in his correspondance, and in the notes of Oldys and Gildon. 9 

Baffled in our search for external proof that Etherege knew 
Moliere before writing The Comical Revenge, we turn to the 
play itself. As with most comedies of manners, the plot gives no 
real clue to its nature and spirit, and a laborious summary here 
would be of no avail. The principal character is Sir Frederick 
Frollick, whom Palmer describes as "the first of a line that cul- 
minated in Congreve's Mirabell," and whom he might also have 
described as neither the first nor the last of a long line that de- 
scended from Fletcher's Mirabel. We must agree with Palmer 
that Sir Frederick is a gay gentleman, accomplished in the fash- 
ionable arts of Restoration society. His wit is revealed in epi- 
grammatic prose, frivolity a la mode, and airy nothings said with 
incomparable grace. He suggests the actions we associate with 
Rochester, Buckingham, Sedley, and Dorset, who were all friends 
of Etherege as soon as we know him in London. Mrs. Rich, the 
widow who captures Sir Frederick, is cast from a similar mold 
of current fashion. Even a mere maid rises to superb prose when 
talking to Sir Frederick. In addition to this genuine comedy of 
manners, there is a prominent but conventional romantic sub- 
plot in rhymed couplets and much incidental servant-hall comedy 
circling about Sir Frederick's ridiculous French valet, Dufoy, 
who is the butt of every one. The stage is at times crowded with 
low rogues intent on ill-gotten gain and ugly debauchery. Thus 
the play conforms to the English structure with multiple plots, 
a constant bustle on the stage, and a mixture of genres: comedy 
of manners, heroic romance, and low comedy incidents. 10 

9 Palmer, op cit., p. 32. 

10 The structure of Etherege's first play has been traditionally described as a ro- 
mantic play with a realistic subplot. It seems to me that there are many reasons for 
reversing this and calling it a realistic play with a romantic subplot. If we think of 


With this interesting play to account for, Gosse was appar- 
ently misled by an assumption that Moliere was the only pos- 
sible progenitor of a true comedy of manners, for he overlooked 
the real problem and did Restoration scholarship the disservice 
of associating the art of Etherege with the art of Moliere. No 
trace of such borrowing had ever been seen in Sir George. If 
Gosse's judgment had not played him false, the history of 
scholarship on this subject might have been very different. Of 
course the belief in the importance of French influence on Res- 
toration literature was commonplace in nineteenth-century schol- 
arship, and it is not hard to imagine how Gosse was misled. If 
the doctrine of the paramount importance of French influence 
seemed unassailable, and if one had just awakened to the chrono- 
logical priority and the brilliance of Etherege, the need of prov- 
ing him a conscious disciple of the French comic master would 
seem imperative; even more, the fact of such a relation would 
appear as an a priori necessity. At any rate Gosse set out to find 
the evidence: 

Gildon states that for a little while he studied law, but adds, what 
external and internal evidence combine to prove, that he spent much 
of his early manhood in France. My own impression is that from about 
1658 to 1663 he was principally in Paris. His French, in prose and verse, 

it as a realistic play, Sir Frederick Frolic becomes the chief character. Then the first 
title, The Comical Revenge, would be normalized as an allusion to his surprising 
loss of property, first revealed by Widow Rich in the epilogue Dufoy, as Frolic's 
French valet, provides the second title by the servant-hall, low-comedy intrigue. The 
fully developed romantic plot need not be the mam one By all the tests of structure, 
Etherege made it subordinate. In a five-act play, the usual thing is for the major 
intrigue to dominate the first, the third, and the fifth acts. Under-plots are usually 
strongest in Acts II and IV. Even badly constructed plays follow this plan to some 
extent; surely even a badly proportioned play will allow half the time to the major 
plot Apparently no one has ever noticed that Etherege, according to these standards, 
clearly intended the story of Sir Frederick to be the chief one. More than twice as 
many scenes are given to his realistic plot as are allotted to the romantic Two and 
one-half times as many lines are given to the comic scenes. The realistic side domi- 
nates Act I, five lines to one, Act III and Act V, almost two lines to one. No act 
awards the larger share of lines to the romantic story. The play opens with the realistic 
plot and the mixed final scene reserves it for the very close, after the romantic figures 
are disposed of. 


is as fluent as his English; and his plays are full of allusions that show 
him to be intimately at home in Parisian matters. What in the other 
Restoration playwrights seems a Gallic affectation seems nature in him. 
My reason for supposing that he did not arrive in London at the 
Restoration, but a year or two later, is that he appears to have been 
absolutely unknown in London until his Comical Revenge was acted; 
and also that he shows in this play an acquaintance with the new school 
of French comedy. 11 

This conjecture that Etherege did not return with Charles 
originated obviously enough from the need of proving his ac- 
quaintance with Moliere's early plays before they were printed. 
Advanced as "my own impression" in the first place, it grows 
in the author's confidence so that he asserts it as undoubted fact 
five pages later: 

What gave The Comical Revenge of Etheredge its peculiar value and 
novelty was that it had been written by a man who had seen and un- 
derstood L'&ourdi, Le Depit amoureux, and Les Precieuses ridicules. 
Etheredge loitered long enough in Paris for Moliere to be revealed to 
him, and then he hastened back to England with a totally new idea of 
what comedy ought to be. 12 

For proof of this boldly precise guess, so useful to this explana- 
tion, he cites only the lack of documentary evidence of any sort. 
We know that Etherege read and wrote French fluently, that 
Oldys heard that he had been in France in his youth, and that 
he owned a copy of Moliere in 1689. That is all we know, and 
that is all Gosse knew. Naturally he turned to the internal evi- 
dence of the play. But those allusions in The Comical Revenge 
that show him "intimately at home in Parisian matters" consist 
solely of the fact that Dufoy gave an amusing account of being 
taken into Sir Frederick's service. 

He was lounging [wrote Gosse] on the new bridge in Paris, watch- 
ing the marionettes and eating custard, when young M. de Grandville 
drove by in his chariot, in company with his friend Sir Fred. Frollick, 

11 Seventeenth Century Studies, pp. 261-62. 12 Ibtd , p. 267. 


and recommended Dufoy as a likely fellow to be entrusted with a cer- 
tain delicate business, which he carried out so well, that Sir Frederick 
made him his valet. 13 

This is the only specific allusion to Paris to be found in the play. 
It drops out of sight in comparison with the much larger amount 
of evidence that Etherege knew London, knew London manners, 
and knew English drama. 14 

Likewise Gosse's evidence that Etherege knew Moliere is amaz- 
ingly scanty in comparison with his confident assertions. He tells 
us that "The real hero of the first three comedies of Moliere is 
Mascarille, and in like manner the farcical interest of The Comi- 
cal Revenge centers around a valet, Dufoy." 15 It is not clear 
whether Gosse intends this to refer to a device of plot or, as it is 
commonly taken, as a declaration that Dufoy as a character is 
modeled after Mascarille. If the resemblance is a device of plot, 
the lack of identifying peculiarities nullifies his conclusion, since 
the device of the servant as the manipulator of plots is common 
to every one connected even remotely with classic comedy: 
Plautus, Terence, Jonson, and Moliere, for example. If Gosse 
meant to trace Dufoy as a character to Mascarille, he should have 
based the relation on likenesses between the two that are not 
common to the type. The Mascarille of the early Moliere is a 
clever, intriguing servant, a brilliant example of the ancient 
comic type. In the first two plays he directs the whole plot. He 

id., pp. 268-69. This may not seem quite fair to Gosse, who said "the plays 
[not the first play] . . . show him intimately," and so on, but actually he must mean 
the first or there is no point In fact the two later plays contain no more evidence 
than the first. 

14 Hickerson traces the structure of the romantic subplot (which he calls the tragi- 
comic plot) to Middleton's Fair Quarrel. The comic plot resembles Shirley's comedy 
of manners in many particulars, but it is closer to Fletcher's in others, matter, 
and form are all in the English tradition. See Hickerson, "Significance of James 
Shirley's Realistic Plays," pp. 299-306. 

15 Op. cit. t p. 267. A friendly reader of an early draft of this chapter suggested that 
I give more of Gosse's evidence. There is no more. The sentence above is literally the 
only approximation to a detailed likeness that Gosse cites between Moliere and The 
Comical Revenge. 


is never a butt, not even in Les Precieuses ridicules, though his 
master often is. Dufoy on the other hand is a silly, contemptible 
butt. He has almost nothing in common with Mascarille except 
the relation of a valet to his master. As James Shirley had brought 
valets to the English stage long before, it is futile to call in Mas- 
carille to explain Dufoy. 

Scholarship followed Gosse's lead for a long time. Vincent 
Meindl, however, dismisses the identification of Dufoy with Mas- 
carille but discovers a similarity between the plots of Le Depit 
amoureux and the serious plot of The Comical Revenge. In both, 
two young ladies love two young men who love the same lady. 
During the play one man transfers his love and all are happy. 36 
W. Harvey-Jellie, however, repeats as unqualified facts Gosse's 
conjectures concerning Etherege's Parisian residence and his use 
of Moliere. 17 Miles conjectures that the realism of The Comical 
Revenge was inspired by Etherege's knowledge of Moliere's suc- 
cess in "transcribing a Parisian fad" in Les Precieuses ridicules. 
The existence of such knowledge of Les Precieuses, one must re- 
member, depends largely on the truth of Gosse's conjecture that 
Etherege had seen Moliere's play in Paris. Surely the mere fact 
that two men wrote realistic plays of current life is inadequate 
reason for asserting that the later must have been influenced by 
the earlier. Surely if we lack evidence of influence, we must as- 
sume its absence rather than its presence. Miles, however, does 
cite one apparent borrowing also. With Meindl he finds that the 
serious plot "harks back" to Le Depit amoureux. But he finds a 
new likeness in the fact that in both plays a master and a valet 
woo a lady and her maid. M. Gillet also leaned heavily upon 
Gosse's conclusions. A few salient expressions will reveal his 

16 S*V George Etheredge, sein Leben, seine Zeit und seine Dramen, pp. 169-72. 

17 Les Sources du theatre anglais a I'epoque de la rcstauration, pp. 59-61. 

18 Miles, Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, pp. 61-63. 


Ses [Etherege's] pieces trahissent une connaissance profonde de la 

vie elegante de Paris De Paveu des critiques anglais les plus au- 

torises [Ward, Gosse, and Chambers'* Encyclopaedia, according to Gil- 
let's footnote] Sheridan et ses ascendants sont issus de Moliere, grace a 
Etheredge . . . le theatre anglais doit a Moliere Fimportation du valet 
comme personnage dramatique et que ce valet parait dans notre piece 

pour la premiere fois Ce [conversational] style leger est la deuxieme 

dette, et non la moindre, d'Etheredge envers Moliere ... c'est la 
premiere piece impregnee de 1'esprit de Moliere qui parut en Angle- 

terre. 19 

In thus crediting Etherege's style to Moliere, Gillet was following 
the vague implication of Gosse with unsupported affirmations of 
a positive sort. Miles, however, had already denied the truth of 
this. 20 Gosse, Meindl, Miles, and Gillet each compared Etherege's 
play to Moliere, and each was friendly to the discovery of like- 
nesses, if not actually eager to make Etherege's dependence seem 
important. Yet each one found a different point of similarity, one 
that none of the others accepted. That fact alone shows the un- 
substantial quality of their evidence and destroys any significance 
one might give to their alleged parallels. 

Gosse likewise declares that Etherege's second play, She Would 
If She Could (February, 1668), was "founded upon a reminis- 
cence of Tartuff e." 21 And since this play had not been printed, 
he takes Etherege on an imagined trip to Paris in 1667. "The 
only direct similarity between the French and English play is 
this, that Lady Cockwood is a female Tartuff e, a woman of loud 
religious pretensions, who demands respect and devotion for her 
piety, and who is really engaged, all the time in the vain prose- 
cution of a disgraceful intrigue." 22 This judgment of Gosse's has 
long since been refuted by the repeatedly observed evidence that 
Lady Cockwood is a lascivious old woman who pursues gallants 

19 Gillet, Moliere en Angleterre, pp. 33-39, passim, 

20 Op. cit. t pp. 181-82. 

21 Seventeenth Century Studies, p. 271. 

22 Ibid., p. 271. 


because they will not pursue her. She is made comic by her fail- 
ure to see the limitations of her faded charms. Her hypocrisy 
consists solely in her countrified efforts to deceive her husband 
and to maintain the externals of social decency. We know that 
her type was 

introduced into the comedy of manners by James Shirley in The Lady 
of Pleasure [1635]. 'Lady Cockwood, also, has immediate predeces- 
sors whom she resembles more closely than she does Lady Aretina, 
notably Lady Love-all of The Parsons Wedding [i664]. 23 

Miles makes no attempt to relate Etherege's second play to 
Moliere, silently following Ward and Meindl in rejecting Gosse's 
parallel. In his 1899 revision of English Dramatic Literature, 
A. W. Ward accepts Gosse's judgment in tracing a relationship 
between Dufoy and Mascarille, 24 but in a footnote he dismisses 
the parallel to Le Tartuffe as "far-fetched." Meindl also declines 
to accept Gosse's judgment. 25 There is, therefore, no good reason 
for tracing She Would If She Could to Moliere. 

Etherege's third and last play. The Man of Mode, or Sir Fopling 
Flutter (March, 1676), represents the highest point of the comedy 
of manners before Congreve. Not even Gosse finds any specific 
borrowings in the play. He quotes the passage in which Sir 
Fopling Flutter criticizes the ladies' clothing and then remarks, 
"The hand that throws in these light touches, in a key of rose- 
colour on pale gray, no longer reminds us of Moliere, but ex- 
ceedingly of Congreve." Since this passage 26 is the nearest to a 
demonstrable borrowing from Moliere to be found in all Eth- 
erege's plays, how slight the influence must have been! Meindl 
believes the same passage from The Man of Mode is related to 

23 Hickerson, "Significance of Shirley's Realistic Plays/' p. 337. 

24 Ward, English Dramatic Literature, III, 445-46. 

25 "Wir konnen ihm [Etherege] doch gewiss soviel Selbstandigheit zumuthen, em 
Motiv, das ganz zeitgemasz und ganz aus dem gesellschafthchen Leben herausgegnffen 
war, zu erfinden." (Op. cit., pp. 198-99 ) 

26 Act III, scene 2. 


Les Precieuses ridicules and he points to other similarities be- 
tween Etherege and Moliere; but he does not elevate any of them 
to the rank of borrowings, nor does he urge any important con- 
clusions about Moliere's effect on Etherege. 27 Sir Fopling's dis- 
cussion of clothes, Miles states, 28 is adopted from scene 9 of Les 
Precieuses ridicules. His attempts at dancing 29 and singing 30 
were also suggested, he declares, by the same scene. There are so 
many points of difference between the two passages and such a 
possibility of coincidental development that we cannot accept the 
ascription without qualification. Etherege's audiences considered 
Sir Fopling a portrait and tried to identify him among the cur- 
rent dandies. 81 It seems clear then that dandies of the time may 
have suggested Sir Fopling to Etherege. The coincidental quali- 
ties of interest in dress and the social graces, dancing and singing, 
are not very surprising. English dandies copied French dandies 
in actual life, and so stage portraits could be similar without 
any literary borrowing. In the terms developed above, in Chapter 
II, one must deny the existence of "enough points of resemblance 
or such identifying peculiarities as to bar the likelihood of coin- 
cidence." It is possible that Etherege recalled Moliere in these 
scenes, but we cannot be certain. The total case for Moliere's 
influence on Etherege is now reduced to a possible but not proved 
borrowing in this last play. 

Since the time of Gosse's work, opinion has receded from his 
positive affirmation. Felix Schelling expressed doubts about 
Moliere's influence on Etherege. 32 Even Gosse himself lost some 

27 Instead he remarks in advance, "Die Anlehnung des Restaurationsdramas an 
franzosische Quellen war uberhaupt ungemein haufig"' (Sir George Etheredge t sein 
Lebcn, seine Zeit und seme Dramen, p. 169). 

28 Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, p. 233. 

29 Act IV, scene i. 

30 Act IV, scene 2. 

31 See Verity, Works of Sir George Etheredge, p. xiv. 

32 See Cambridge History of English Literature t VIII, 154-58 (which appeared in 


of his positiveness. 83 Since the appearance of John Palmer's The 
Comedy of Manners, 1913, the opposite opinion has frequently 
been asserted. Louis Cazamian ignores all idea that Etherege can 
be explained through Moliere. 84 Without any intention of imi- 
tating FalstafFs cautious example of administering a coup de 
gr&ce to a corpse, I hope this account will help nullify the influ- 
ence of a fallen idea that has been widely disseminated and ac- 
cepted. 35 

The conclusion is that no likeness between Moliere and 
Etherege is close enough to prove that borrowing occurred. With- 
out proof of borrowing, talk of influence is unfounded. Even if 
the possible borrowing in Etherege's last play is conceded, there 
is still no sound evidence that The Comical Revenge or She 
Would If She Could was derived from Moliere, nor even that 
Etherege had witnessed or read any of his plays before 1676. 
Consequently there is no foundation for the more ambitious thesis 
that the whole school of Restoration comedy is the product of 
his influence working through Etherege's early and influential 
comedies of manners, which modern scholars have shown to be 
British products. Etherege secured little or nothing from Moliere 
and hence transmitted nothing to his successors. 

33 See his article on Etherege in Encyclopedia Britannica, nth ed. (1910), IX, 807. 

3 * Lcgouis and Cazamian, History of English Literature, II, 43. 

35 Traces of the heresy can be found, for example, in the following works: Ward, 
English Dramatic Literature, III, 445; Dictionary of National Biograpfty, XVIII, 44; 
Charlanne, L'lnfluence franfaise en Angleterre au xtni* stecle, p. 300. Harvey-Jelhe, 
Les Sources du theatre anglais, pp. 59*6i; Chambers Encyclopaedia, IV, 434; Miles, 
Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, passim, especially pp. 61-68, 135-39. 
175-82, and Nicoll, Restoration Drama, p. 178. 


WILLIAM WYCHERLEY, whose dramatic career ended 
simultaneously with Etherege's, took an interest in Moliere 
that was reflected in borrowings of matter and in suggestions for 
artistic procedure. Our study shifts therefore from vain attempts 
to identify borrowings to the investigation of the nature and 
extent of an unquestioned influence. In the preceding chapter we 
observed the futile efforts to ascribe intangibilities of Etherege's 
art to Moliere's influence when no proof exists that borrowing 
occurred; here we face the task of giving suitable interpretation 
to his influence upon Wycherley when the major facts of bor- 
rowing have been known from the beginning. What would 
Wycherley have been without his acquaintance with Moliere's 
work? What use did he make of his French borrowings? Let 
us consider his four plays in the order in which they appeared, 
starting with Love m a Wood, or St. James Par\ (c. April, 1671 )/ 
his debut as a playwright. 

Although the author had spent his most impressionable year? 
in France, 2 this play indicates that he began his dramatic career 
after making a large acquaintance with English comic tradition. 
A light social satire interspersed with scenes of mere farcical 
intrigue, Love in a Wood has characteristics that stem from 

1 It seems inappropriate in this study to disturb the tangle of evidence concerning 
the dates of Wycherley's plays. Unfortunately the aged Wycherley undertook to tell 
Pope when he wrote his comedies. This dubious evidence of a forgetful old man has 
been the source of conflicting opinions held by many scholars, including Klette, W C. 
Ward, and Perromat. I have decided to ignore all this and to accept the dates assigned 
by Allardyce Nicoll, as I have consistently done in all other instances. 

2 When about fifteen he was sent to live in western France, where he was admitted 
to good French society. He remained there until shortly before the return of Charles II. 


Jonson: the submergence of satire in amusement, the shaping of 
farcical action from stratagems of opposed intriguers, and the 
use of characters whose "humors" provide only eccentric whimsy. 3 
His flimsy plot of rakish gentlemen pursuing disguised ladies 
in a dark park recalls Dryden and Sedley, although it is not 
accurate to trace the play specifically to the latter's Mulberry 
Garden (May, 1668), as Klette does, inasmuch as the resem- 
blances are commonplaces. 4 The episode of a lecherous alderman 
blackmailed by a bawd-mother and her whore-daughter is an 
essential echo of Middleton and Brome. His characters include 
numerous types familiar to readers of seventeenth-century come- 
dies, for example, a fashionable gallant with taste in wit, a lech- 
erous, hypocritical business man from the city, a bawd, a mistress 
capable of blackmail, a silly knight who thinks he is very clever 
in plotting, an amorous, husband-seeking widow pretending to be 
shy and virtuous, a would-be wit who deluges the world with his 
similitudes, and contrasting with these, two rakish gentlemen 
lured into marriage with discreet but gay young ladies; and a 
pair of very serious lovers carry on another thread of the plot 
Wycherley is cynical, brutal, and brilliant in his invention of 
false-wit similitudes with which to garnish Dapperwit's affected 
conversation, but otherwise not nearly so witty as in later plays. 
There is no demonstrable trace of Moliere in the play. 5 
Wycherley's second play, The Gentleman Dancing Master* 

3 For an account of the development of these elements in Jonson, see Davis, "The 
'Sons of Ben* in English Realistic Comedy," I, 160-92. 

4 Klette, William Wycherley' s Leben und dramatische Wcr\e, pp. 41-47. 

5 This opinion coincides with many; for example, that of Perromat (William 
Wycherley, p. 122) : "... de toutes les comedies de Wycherley, Love in a Wood est 
precisement la seule ou Ton ne retrouve aucune trace de Mohere." It seems that 
Klette (op. at., pp. 41-47) is the first to allege any traces of Moliere. Miles (Influence 
of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, p. 69) repeats the unproved assertion he made in 
connection with Etherege, discussed above in Chap. IV, that since Love in a Wood and 
Les Precieuses ridicules are both close transcripts of contemporary life, the former must 
have been the result of Wycherley's acquaintance with the latter. 

How litde Wycherley depended upon Calderon's El Maestro de Danzar is shown 
by Perromat (op. at, t pp. 147-57). 


(January, 1672) contains a situation in the first scene that bears 
a resemblance to an episode in L'ficole des marts J In both plays 
a lady uses her fiance as an unwitting messenger to her lover. 
Although Wycherley here very probably copies Moliere, the fact 
is of little importance in the history of Restoration comedy. All 
that trifling borrowings prove is that the borrower was acquainted 
with the source; 8 we know from later borrowings that Wycher- 
ley read Moliere, and so a proof of the borrowing of this slight 
episode is of little interest. Perromat remarks about the frequent 
fault of exaggerating the value of such parallels: 

Les critiques, partant sans doute de cette idee que Moliere fut lit- 
teralement pille par les auteurs dramatiques anglais apres la Restaura- 
don, et que Wycherley lui-meme lui doit beaucoup pour ses deux 
dernieres pieces, ont pense qu'il avait du s'en inspirer aussi pour son 
Gentleman Dancing Master, et ils se sont ingenies a decouvrir des 
points de ressemblance. On finit toujours, en cherchant bien, par 
decouvrir quelque ressemblance entre deux oeuvres, aussi heterogenes 
soient-elles: c'est un simple jeu de patience. II ne s'ensuit pas que Tune 
ait inspire Tautre. 9 

There is keen judgment in Ward's remark that "The Gentle- 
man Dancing Master resembles Moliere in manner more than 
any other of Wycherley's plays."- 10 A careful analysis of this 
resemblance will show that it lies in the mocking tone of spir- 
ited farce. Wycherley has momentarily replaced brutality and 
cynicism with lightness and high spirits and tends toward social 
satire without overstepping the bounds of farce. As social satire 
the play recalls vaguely the matter of Moliere's great comedie- 
bdlet, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, which had barely been 
printed long enough for Wycherley to see it. The similarity does 

T Miles (op. cit. f p. 232) cites three other specific resemblances to Utcole des mans 
and L'cole des femmcs, none of which has identifying peculiarities. 

8 As I have pointed out in Chap. II, borrowings that do not carry form, matter, or 
spirit to an appreciable degree cannot be used to demonstrate an influence. 

9 Op. cit. f p. 158. 

10 English Dramatic Literature, III, 463. 


not possess identifying peculiarities, however, and there is slight 
reason to think he borrowed it. The ancient plot of the father's 
hindering the daughter's lover and trying to marry her to a man 
of his choice was copied repeatedly by Moliere, but this social 
and dramatic commonplace has also been used by almost every- 
one else, and so means nothing in this connection. 11 

The relation of The Gentleman Dancing Master to the dramatic 
styles in England, on the other hand, is intimate and significant. 
Mr. Formal, a prosperous London citizen, having lived in Spain 
for a long time, has developed such a fancy for Spanish manners 
that he tries to force them on his London household. He assumes 
the name of Don Diego. In addition he possesses an extreme 

11 The need of keeping the pre-Restoration literature clearly in mind is evident in 
reading Perromat, op, cit , pp. 362-78, in which he argues that Wycherley's great 
innovation was to bring realism back to the English stage to replace the dominant 
use of conventions. He says (pp. 375-76): 

"Une des faces de Poriginahte de Wycherley est, justement, d'avoir saisi, a Pinstar 
de Mohere, qu'il fallait faire desormais du theatre avec sa seule experience, n'ecrire 
que ce que Ton connaissait bien ou sentait bien, laisser parler et agir la nature, et que, 
si Ton ne pouvait bannir tout a fait la fiction, il fallait du moms ne mettre que le 
minimum d'arrangement et d'attenuation necessaire pour encadrer la reahte. Est-il 
temeraire de dire que, sans son expatriation, Wycherley ne se serait jamais assimile 
a un aussi haut point les enseignements de Moliere? Wycherley passa en France ccs 
annees de jeunesse ou Pintelhgence et le gout se forment, ses relations frequentes avec 
la societe cultivee, qui Pavait accueilli, exercerent sur sa destinee une action 
decisive. S'll ne revint pas en Angleterre avec une idee absolument nette de ce que 
devait ^tre desormais la comedie, puisque, en 1660, Le De-pit amoureux, Les 
Precieuses ridicules, et Sganarelle seuls avaient ete joues, il etait tout dispose par ses 
souvenirs, et son caractere aidant, a se rapprocher bien vite de Mohere et a chercher 
chez lui un modele et un appui." 

Will such an attempt to trace as vague and widespread a quality as realism suc- 
ceed? Miles, for example, would prove Mohere's influence on Etherege by the realism 
of The Comical Revenge (March, 1664), a realism that both Gosse and Palmer find 
worthy of great praise. Elevating Wycherley to the initial place, Perromat denies any 
considerable realism to Etherege before The Man of Mode (March, 1676), which he 
thinks was learned from Monsieur Paris of The Gentleman Dancing Master (c* Janu- 
ary, 1672). From such contradictions of judgment, I infer that abstract realism is too 
subjective to be followed through a maze of conflicting influences. If the likeness is 
not accompanied by identifying peculiarities or by external proof of the unique source, 
wishful thinking is probably asserting itself. 

Although his work is recent (1921), Perromat had the misfortune to write just 
before the announcements of the findings of recent scholarship on the relations of 
Restoration and pre-Restoration comedy. The studies of Nicoll, Dobree, Lynch, Wilson, 
Mueschke, Hickerson, and Davis have made his views prematurely old. 


Jonsonian "humor" of contrariety and will always oppose every- 
thing suggested to him. He immures his daughter Hippolita at 
home to await her marriage with her cousin, Mr. Paris, a silly 
Frenchified Englishman of a type familiar to Restoration play- 
goers* A mere three months in Paris has given Mr. Paris all the 
affectations that could be loaded on any one human frame. Hip- 
polita instinctively gulls Paris into bringing Gerrard, a young 
gallant, to see her. At the sudden return of Don Diego in the 
midst of their first interview, Gerrard is compelled to pass him- 
self off as a dancing master. Diego resents his nephew's imitation 
of the French, and forces him to turn Spanish. Mrs. Caution, 
FormaPs sister (i.e., Don Diego's), warns him of Gerrard's char- 
acter, but the old man's "humor" of contrariety forces him to 
defend Gerrard. Thus the lovers get their chance. When the 
marriage of Hippolita and Gerrard is confessed to him at the 
close, he declares with amusing stubbornness that he has con- 
nived at the match from the first, and says to Gerrard, 

... I know now you think that I will give you little or nothing with 
my daughter, like other fathers, since you have married her without 
my consent but, I say, I'll deceive you now; for you shall have the 
most part of my estate in present, and the rest at my death. There's 
for you: I think I have deceived you now, look you. 12 

In this farce we have a burlesque of the recent interest in Spain 
that, on the stage, received new impetus from Sir Samuel Tuke's 
The Adventures of Five Hours (January, 1663) and Dryden's 
Spanish settings; of course the vogue started in the days of John 
Fletcher. There is a satire on the Frenchified English that echoes 
James Howard's The English Monsieur (December, 1666) and 
anticipates Sir Fopling Flutter, Mrs. Fantast, 18 and a host of 
others. The capricious "humor" produces real fun, but lacks psy- 
chological insight. Wycherley again shows his familiarity with 

12 Act V, scene i: "The Mermaid Edition," p. 240. All subsequent citations will 
be to this edition. 

13 In Shadwell's Bury Fair (c. April, 1689). 


the oft-repeated technique of contrasting true-wits with social 
pretenders. He has evidently absorbed the comic tradition of 
England completely and integrated it into his dramatic person- 
ality. This lightest and gayest of his plays is an indigenous de- 
velopment, with the examples of Jonson, Fletcher, Shirley, 
Dryden, Sedley, and Etherege in the playwright's mind. It falls 
short of the true comedy of manners because, as occurred re- 
peatedly with the Caroline playwrights, the social criticism is lost 
in the farce of situation and character. This failure even is in 
the British tradition. 

The "Sons of Ben" . . . Brome, Randolph, Marmion, Nabbes, Daven- 
ant, Glapthorne, Mayne, Cartwright, Cavendish, and Killigrew . . . 
never fully realized that excessive emphasis in their social comedies on 
comedy of farcical intrigue . . . spoiled the artistry of these comedies 
and kept them from rivalling the Restoration comedy of manners at its 
best. . . , 14 

When Wycherley began his third play, The Country Wife 
(January, 1675), he altered his method to a surprising degree. 
Instead of drawing upon the stereotyped characters and situa- 
tions of native tradition, he went abroad for suggestions and 
brought back characters and incidents from Moliere and Terence. 
Apparently he commenced by importing three characters from 
Uficole des femmes f and then sardonically adapted them to the 
English stage. In addition he took many elements of dramatic 
matter from the play and something from L'ficole des marts. 
Before itemizing his borrowing, we need to recall the plays in- 

In L'ficole des marts Moliere discusses the development of a 
girl into a suitable wife (see above, in Chapter III, for details) 
and points out the folly of repression. In L'cole des jemmes, it 
will be recalled, he shows the futility of depending upon igno- 
rance as a guarantee of marital docility. The play centers in the 

14 Davis, "The 'Sons of Ben' in English Realistic Comedy," II, 933-35. 


folly of Arnolphe, the middle-aged bourgeois who reared Agnes 
according to his formula for insuring fidelity. Everything in it is 
subsidiary to the one purpose of showing the futility of crossing 
the natural inclinations of youth. This is why, despite the fact 
that Agnes has been reared in total ignorance, she loves Horace 
naively, purely, and earnestly. In Wycherley's play Horner, a .wil 
and rake, has circulated the rumor of his surgical emasculation; 
this is his strange device for bringing to his bed those ladies who 
are careful of their reputations but eager to enjoy forbidden fruit 
with impunity. Sir Jasper Fidget is the first cuckold. Lady Fidget 
is another, of the line descending from Jonson^s Mrs^ Otter, skilled 
in keeping hex honor instead of her virtue. Sir Jasper's sister, 
Mrs. Dainty, and Mrs. Squeamish also enjoy Horner's prowess 
as a gallant rake in adequate disguise. Chief among the victims 
of the hero's skill in horning is one Pinchwife. After years of 
reckless debauchery, the latter has gone to the country and mar- 
ried Margery, a young girl too ignorant even to want to come to 
the city. Pinchwife, .bringing her to attend the wedding of his 
sister, resolves to protect her from contact with the evils of 
the city. Lacking the background of experience common to the 
"honorable" ladies, Margery, even before she sees Horner, falls 
foolishly into that state of sensual desire that passes for love in 
Restoration comedy. She tricks her husband and rushes to Hor- 
ner's chamber. The play ends with triumph for Horner, who 
leers at the closing "dance of cuckolds." 

Wycherley's use of borrowed matter may now be listed. From 
Terence he took only the device of Horner's pretended disability. 
In Act I, after Horner and his plan have been introduced, Pinch- 
wife enters to narrate his marriage and defend the policy of 
marrying a fool for a wife, in a free adaptation from Act I of 
Uficole des femmes. This covers about five pages. Mrs. Pinchwife 
tells her husband, Act IV, scene 2, of her love for Horner, in a 
way that resembles Agnes's confession to Arnolphe in Act II, 


scene 5 (two pages), but Wycherley fails to use the il m'a frit 
passage, the nearest to flippant innuendo about the sex relation 
in all Moliere. A few pages farther in the same scene, 15 Pinchwife 
forces Margery to write a letter to Horner. She substitutes an- 
other for the one dictated and tricks Pinchwife into delivering 
it. Later she writes a third letter, 16 which Pinchwife forces her to 
complete. 17 L'ficole des maris, Act II, scene 3, is the source for 
the trick of using a man to deliver a letter to a rival, but not for 
the other parts of the exchange of letters. Wycherley expands the 
comic possibilities of the letters far beyond what Moliere tried 
to do. In Act II, scene 2, Harcourt woos Alithea in the presence 
of her fiance, Sparkish, in a scene that depends for several pages 
on L'ficole des maris, Act II, scene 9, for the situation and plot 
device. 18 

In addition a few epigrams and phrases resemble expressions 
in Uficole des femtnes; the likelihood that such are verbal echoes 
is great, of course, because Moliere was obviously in Wycherley's 
mind, but they cannot signify anything beyond that already es- 
tablished fact. 19 

As Moliere's figures crossed the English Channel, their natures 
underwent changes that reflect the satiric wit of the importer. 
Horace, an honorable and romantic young lover, is not Moliere's 

15 "Mermaid edition," pp. 317-18. 
18 Act IV, scene 4 (pp. 333-34>- 

17 Act V, scene i (pp. 336-37). 

18 The declaration of Miles (The Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, p. 
227) that the "play is an adaptation of JJtcole des femmcs, modified in acts iv and v 
by Utcole des mans" exaggerates the indebtedness and neglects Wycherley's originality. 
As Perromat says (op. cit. t pp. 188-89): "Wycherley, pour sa comedie de The Country 
Wife, a fait a Moliere des emprunts assez important*. Ici pas de doute . . . mais, 
a notre avis, il n'y a pas lieu de crier si fort au scandale. ... En transportant dans sa 
piece les prototypes de Moliere, Wycherley ne les a-t-il pas 'situes* dans un milieu, dans 
un cadre purement anglais? Ne les a-t-il pas modifies et transformes? Ne leur a-t-il 
pas ajoute des traits empruntes aux homines de ce pays particuher auquel il ap- 
partenait? Et cettc transposition et cette transformation seules ne permettent-elles pas 
a 1'adaptateur de revendiquer une certaine part d'onginahte? II est difficile, ce me 
semble, de i^pondre par la negative." 

19 Churchill, Country Wife and the Plain Dealer, pp. 180-87, cites eight of these in 
his notes. 


male lead, but he is the prototype of Horner, the chief figure in 
Wycherley's play, a witty y suave rake of incredible sensuality 
and diabolical effrontery in gaining ends which are a patent 
mockery of a sane life. Horace is a relatively colorless young 
man; Horner is a wit of the first rank. The pages sparkle with 
his phrases, at times in languid cadence, "A beauty masked, like 
the sun in eclipse, gathers together more gazers than if it shined 
out"; at times with euphuistic balance, "The woman that mar- 
ries to love better, will be as much mistaken as the wencher 
that marries to live better"; at times with sardonic baldness, as 
when to Pinchwife's "there will be danger in making me a 
cuckold," he replies, "Why, wert thou not well cured of thy 
last clap?" Horner's basic stratagem, which Wycherley took from 
the Eunuchus of Terence, of course, characterizes him simul- 
taneously as a wag, and, from another view, as a sensualist. 
Horace's normal desire for the wife he loved is replaced by 
Horner's meaningless appetite for sheer copulation, planned 
without love and achieved without emotion. The closing spec- 
tacle of victorious Horner suitably rewarded with the punishment 
of one more exigent wench on his hands is a triumph of irony. 
Horace's reward by contrast is real and permanent. 

In turn Arnolphe, a respectable bourgeois with some foolish 
notions that need the castigation of purifying laughter, becomes 
the wretched Pinchwife, to whom Horner remarks, "So then 
you only married to keep a whore to yourself." Both characters 
are alike in several ridiculous externals; both anticipate horns in 
the most timorous fashion; both choose to marry an ignorant 
girl, preferring a marriage free from faithlessness to one full of 
domestic felicity. Both men are also ridiculous in their habit of 
saying too much, although Pinchwife excels in blunders of this 
sort to such an extent that we suspect the device of being "comic 
decoration," a side amusement for the audience. But in basic na- 
tures they are as far apart as a French provincial town is from 


the Restoration London court. Arnolphe explodes over his catas- 
trophe; Pinchwife sighs with a certain comic fortitude. Arnolphe 
is much more human and normal in his emotions; Pinchwife is 
an unrealistic Jonsonian "humor." Arnolphe is a figure one can 
somehow respect, despite his deserved punishment for following 
a foolish course; Pinchwife is a butt for whom no one can feel 
a twinge of concern. 

The contrast between Agnes and Margery is the most striking 
of the three. Moliere's girl has good sense. She makes an instinc- 
tive response to Horace, loving naively but wholly, not with her 
senses merely. Wycherley's . Margery is of totally different stuff. 
Her starved senses yearn for a handsome male an actor, a serv- 
ant,^ or the first Horner she meets. She is the embodiment of 
feminine lasciviousness; a staple in the Restoration comedy, she 
is made jpiquant and unusual by her ignorance of the way the 
Restoration world goes about securing the satisfaction she craves. 
Noble love makes Agnes defy the world to win her husband. 
Comically fierce carnality makes Margery defy her husband to 
gain an hour with her paramour. 20 Margery is ignorant because 
she came from the country (country life Being a Restoration bte 
noire), nQtjiaiye through, lack of education (problems of educa- 
tion could not interest Restoration audiences). She asks eagerly, 
"Do the town-women love the playermen too?" Agnes loves 
Horace on sight, but Margery is ready for Horner as soon as her 
husband foolishly tells her Horner has complimented her. Agnes 
respects Arnolphe as her guardian, but Margery boldly flatters 
Pinchwife with insincere terms of endearment to hide the lover 
she has not yet found. Horace brings innocent Agnes a great 

20 Dr. Pcrromat's analysis of the transformation of Arnolphe and Agnes into 
Pinchwife and Margery is illuminating and useful (William Wycherhy, pp. 189-201), 
but in considering Margery a sympathetic character, he seems to have overlooked 
the peculiar social norm of Restorauon life, where frankness and truthfulness, which 
Margery undoubtedly possessed more than any one else in the play, were proofs 
that she was a fool, for she admitted what social sense taught people to dissemble. 
Since Wycherley did not assign her any prospect of future happiness, as he did 
Ahthea, he surely meant her to be a comic figure. 


revelation; London brings the naturally vile Margery a great 
opportunity there is no end to such contrasts, and they all reveal 
Wycherley's art and satiric purpose. 

Yet this is a Restoration comedy containing wits, witty women, 
would-besj Cuckolds, country butts, and lecherous ladies. Wycher- 
ley_pffers, with great likeness to contemporary life, a picture of 
the gay figures interesting to Restoration audiences. While Hor- 
ner, Pinchwife, and Margery alone owe any of their origin to 
Moliere, other figures are of interest, some for their conformity 
to recognized types, and some for their deviations from what 
one expects in a Restoration comedy. Jy3arkish_is gLstandard..gfl~ 
tleman gull, descended from Shirley v His pretensions to wit and 
sociaLftz vpir faire make him the butt of the truerwits. He is ^per- 
fectly revealed by his response to Harcourt's request to be taken 
to Alithea: "I would not go near her now for her's or my own 
sake; but I can deny you nothing; for though I have known 
thee a great while, never go, if I do not love thee as well as a new 
acquaintance." 21 Dorilant and Harcourt are both dimmed by the 
brilliance of Horner, but Harcourt gains from his greater place 
in the plot as the successful wooer of Alithea. _The latter is far 
from the normal witty lady of Restoration comedy, but she clearly 
belongs to the type. She^Jbas^ the jense_tp maintain 

as the sine qua non of a good marriage; she flirts with Harcourt 
with a little of the expected boldness of the type; but she has 
been stupid to accept a coxcomb like Sparkish. She is not given 
much wit. Her demand that. her future husband be incapable of 
jealousy is her only positive sign of a right mind in the witty 
sense. But her acceptance of Sparkish for sudi a reason (and her 
shift to mediocre Harcourt for no better) seems ironic. Although 
she keeps her technical chastity, she fares little better than Mrs. 
Dainty and Mrs. Squeamish, who violated the basic principle 
of the Restoration social code for women by not preserving their 

21 "Mermaid Edition," Act III, scene 2 (p. 293). 


chastity until marriage. Their admitted irregularity heightens 
the impression of universal depravity and may be artistically jus- 
tified on that basis. The scene in which the wine loosens the 
tongues of the three gay women, each of whom thinks she alone 
knows the secret of the eunuch's virility, is ironic enough to 
justify any means of getting it there. 

In addition, a brilliant realism and a faultless use of witty 
epigram for comic decoration make The Country Wije the most 
sparkling of Wycherley's comedies, giving repulsive material an 
astonishing verve and vitality. ^At the 

another play that makes such deft and ever-changing use of one 
comic device, namely, the presentation of a character less acute in 
his perceptions than the audience. Not even the wits and Alithea 
get off scot-free from this form of ridicule. The most elaborate 
collection of double meanings ever put into one play begins with 
the first talk with the Fidgets 22 and lasts until Horner says to 
Pinchwife, with utter duplicity, "I must pronounce your wife 
innocent, though I blush whilst I do it." 23 The author's amazingly 
fertile genius sows sexual innuendo broadcast throughout the 

With a taste for ironic cynicism that is well-nigh perfect, he 
jdegictsj society where the morals derive from the goat and the 
characters are all as "lecherous as sparrows." This masterpiece of 
rcfficious imagination and saturnine portraiture reveals Jus un- 
excelled .genius for mordant wit, for the skillful, use t of popular 
English dramatic types, and for theatrical effects. He begins with 
Moliere's play and ends with a brilliant reflection of the fash- 
ionably corrupt society of his own country. The merits of his 
work are due to his genius and not to what he took. Its effect 
is achieved by the masterly ordering of events so that every action 
is logically motivated. Instead of giving us mere mixture of satire 

22 Ibid., Act I, scene i (p. 251). 

23 Act V, scene 4 (p. 359)* 


and farce, Wycherley has learned from Moliere how to focus 
his implications so that successive situations make the same cyni- 
cal revelation of the bitterness implicit in a life devoted to the 
pursuit of pleasure. Here one aspect of Moliere's comic genius 
is truly influential in a significant way. Through him Wycherley 
has achieved a tone that is artistically superb. "Look," says he 
in effect, "see this thing you call love." With the subtlest irony 
of all, he perfected the familiar Restoration level of his play with 
such attention to realism that many in his audiences would un- 
wittingly applaud their own satirization, for he inwardly felt 
an Olympian mockery of the social standards exemplified by the 
wits and the witty women: he makes them unconsciously betray 
the vacuity of the ends they shamelessly pursue. This comedy is 
what it is because Wycherley was a dramatic genius, a Restora- 
tion gentleman, and a reader of Moliere. Yet Moliere provided 
none of the wit, none of the brilliant style, only one point in 
the dramaturgy, only a few threads of the plot, and only the 
broad suggestions from which three native English characters 
emerged, 24 The spirit central to The Country Wife is a Restora- 
tion reaction to Moliere, not a copy of him. 

When he came to his last play, The Plain Dealer (December, 
1676), the initial impulse for Wycherley '$ observation and 
imagination was Le Misanthrope. He began with a decision to 
naturalize the Frenchman, to re-think the whole play in terms 
of English character and English social background. Moliere's 
famous masterpiece expresses a sane social philosophy by the 
sensitive use of irony of situation and of character. Almost devoid 

24 Ever since Voltaire wrote about The Country Wife in "Sur la comedie" (Lettres 
sur Its Anglais) , the use of Utcole dcs femmes has been generally known. Klette 
(William Wycherley' s Leben und dramatische Werfa) discovered the use of L'ficole 
des marts. He thought he found borrowings from Le Tartu ffe and L'lmpromptu de 
Versailles, but no one else agrees 

Van Laun (Dramatic Works of Moliere Rendered into English, II, 142) and Miles 
(Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy >, p. 227) over-emphasize the importance of 
Moliere's matter. Ferchlandt (Moliere's Misanthrop und seine enghschen Nachahmungen, 
pp. 26-28) alone finds traces o Le Misanthrope in this play. 


of plot, the play presents the conversation of Alceste and of his 
friends about him. The total effect is to make this ill-adjusted 
member of the society of the court of Louis XIV delicately and 
politely ridiculous, because he demands the whole truth, un- 
flinching sincerity, and absolute justice in a milieu that has learned 
the art of compromise in all things social. 

Alceste first protests against his friend Philinte's tolerance and 
lack of honest statement in every remark. He soon insults the 
poetaster Oronte by telling him his sonnet is no good; then he 
tries to woo the beautiful young widow Celimene by objecting 
to her complacence toward other suitors and by writhing over 
the gay nothings he hears in her society. Celimene, in fact, can 
hold her own either as a gay satirist of those absent or in a rough- 
and-tumble verbal battle with the hypocritical prude, Arsinoe. 
She is not insensible of Alceste's many good points, but her deci- 
sion is not yet made. Alceste is also the object of Arsinoe's 
desire, and even filiante confesses a tender feeling for him to 
Alceste's friend, who modestly wishes to be her second choice 
when she is ready to decide. On every occasion, Alceste makes a 
fool of himself through his quixotic egoism masquerading as 
a desire for truth and honesty. His dealing with Oronte in the 
court of honor is absurd, his belief in Arsinoe's slanders of 
Celimene will not stand up in a test, and his offer of marriage 
to the gentle liante compels refusal because he candidly admits 
he is offering himself on the rebound from Celimene. When 
Celimene has been softened by her sense of guilt in writing harsh 
"characters" of every one, even Alceste, he spoils his chance of 
winning her by demanding that she bury herself in rural solitude 
with him. The play comes to an end when filiante offers her 
hand to Alceste's best friend, and they hurry away to persuade 
Alceste not to banish himself from all society, as he has threatened 
to do. 

The character of Alceste has become Protean in the hands of 


the critics, but his essential ridiculousness, his absurd excess of 
virtue, is surely central to Moliere's plan. 

Ridicule [says John Palmer] lies in wait for the man who runs to an 
extreme. Wisdom consists in a perpetual adaptation of the man to his 
environment. Virtue is social. The reasonable man is before all things 
conformable. 25 

For those in tune with the spirit of great comedy, this requires 
no argument, but there does exist a need for establishing Alceste's 
comic nature, a need created by the rationalizations of numerous 
romantics, who have found in him a sympathetic reflection of 
their own objections to the imperfect world. Too noble, too re- 
fined, too thoroughly unaware that the views of others may have 
some reason in them, and too certain to spoil a good case with 
overemphasis, Alceste, like his idealizing admirers, lacks an in- 
stinct for the middle ground of common sense. An excess of vir- 
tue makes him ridiculous from first to last. If a sensible man 
dislikes the amenities of a social world, he will live by himself 
in peace. If he dislikes the customary procedure for trying law- 
suits, he will avoid litigation, or, once involved, do the necessary 
things in silent distaste. If he dislikes the manners of fashionable 
Parisian widows, he will certainly refrain from wooing one. 
Alceste is consistently comic because he feels that he is always 
right and that the rest of the world never is. His wells of egotism 
are bottomless. 

The romantic Rousseaus are always unable to laugh with 
Moliere precisely because they are too much like Alceste, whom 
they make the embodiment of noble ideals and the perfection 
of social virtues. They point to the fact that Alceste has much 
right and truth on his side, forgetting that the artistic Moliere 
always gave his full figures the many contradictions found in 
real men. But the play shows that the author meant him to be 
steadily, though delicately, comic. 26 

25 Mohere, Hts Life and Worlds t p. 327. 

26 For a good recent expression of this point of view, see Palmer, tbid., pp. 332-40. 


What sort of play did Wycherley produce from this ? Manly, a 
frank, courageous, blunt, unmannerly sea captain, has taken to 
his "sea-life only to avoid the world," for he trusts no one except 
his treacherous friend Vernish and Olivia, a perfidious coquette. 
With equal folly he is suspicious of his only sincere friend and 
of self-eff acing Fidelia, a young lady of good family and fortune, 
who has loyally attached herself to him in the Viola-like guise 
of page. 27 When the Dutch war breaks out, he entrusts all his 
jewels and wealth to his coquette and his coquette to his false 
friend. Faithful Freeman and Fidelia sail with him. Having lost 
his ship in battle, he returns with the merits of his companions 
and the perfidy of those he trusted yet to discover. Those discov- 
eries and his violent reactions to them constitute the major plot 
of a play full of vigorous action and blunt speech. Manly finds 
his Olivia married to Vernish and his casket apparently stolen. 
As though to hasten his slow understanding of her real char- 
acter, Olivia falls in love and thrusts her sensual attentions upon 
Fidelia. Manly forces the latter to make an assignation with the 
faithless mistress, and then he shamelessly revenges himself by 
secretly taking the page's place. In a closing scuffle, he thrusts 
his sword through Vernish, recovers the casket, and decides to 
wed the page, whose real sex is this moment revealed to him. 
Meanwhile his true-wit lieutenant has thrust himself into the 
affairs of the litigious Widow Blackacre and, through his as- 
cendancy over her simple son Jerry, has forced her into a liberal 

On the side of matter, Wycherley's use of Moliere was exten- 
sive and masterly. The main action of The Plain Dealer replaces 
Moliere's plotless plot, but many useful and characteristic inci- 
dents are transposed to the new key. In Act I the exposition of 

27 The role of Fidelia, traditionally considered a borrowing from Shakespeare's 
Twelfth Night t was traced direct to Bandello by Klette (op. at., pp. 61-63). Perromat 
decided that Barnaby Rich's version in farewell to the Military Profession, is the im- 
mediate source. See Perromat, William Wycherley, pp. 288-91. The material seems too 
conventionalized for final identification. 


Manly and Lord Plausible follows Moliere's Act I; although Lord 
Plausible is not at all like Philinte, for this scene he has a similar 
function to perform, to draw out the principal character in con- 
versation. Act II is comparable to Moliere's Act II at innumerable 
points, but with important changes also in the plan, the most 
striking being the deferring of Manly's entrance to the end. Olivia 
dominates her petty drawing room full of fops in much the way 
that Celimene shines before her group of French courtiers, but 
she has the prudishness of Celimene's enemy, Arsinoe. Olivia's 
bold refusal of Manly has been likened to Celimene's last talk 
with Alceste. In this scene Wycherley also imitated Moliere's 
example in La Critique dc I'ecole des femmes, by defending The 
Country Wife. W. C. Ward says, 

The scene in the second act, between Olivia, her cousin, and the two 
"pretty fellows/' Novel and Plausible, was suggested by a dialogue be- 
tween Celimene and her admirers, in the second act of Le Misanthrope, 
but the detail is almost entirely Wycherley's own, and is enlivened with 
such diverting antitheses and such brilliant fancy that, perhaps, few 
scenes more masterly are to be found in the entire range of English 
comedy from the time of the Restoration downwards. 28 

In Act IV, scene 2, Wycherley treats Lord Plausible and Novel 
in a manner that recalls vaguely Acaste and Clitandre in Act III, 
scene i, and Act V, scene 4. In Act V Eliza tells Olivia of the talk 
about her, recalling Arsinoe of Act III, scene 4. Olivia turns aside 
Vernish's jealousy in Act V, scene i, somewhat after the manner 
of Celimene's use of the compromising letter in Act IV, scene 3. 
Like Alceste, Manly has trouble over his literary criticism. Major 
Oldfox writes as wretchedly as Oronte. 29 

28 Introduction to the play in "The Mermaid Series," p. 365. 

29 More than twenty years before Wycherley's death, Langbaine published the com- 
ment that Manly and Olivia were borrowed from Le Misanthrope (Account of the 
English Dramatic^ Poets, p. 515). Wycherley later ridiculed those writers who have 
an "Itch of being thought Originals" (Posthumous Wor\s, Part I, p. 3). This may be 
a sort of admission of the fact, which everyone else admits. A detailed analysis of 
these borrowings may be found in Ferchlandt, op. cit. f pp. 28-42; or Perromat, op. at., 
pp. 236-76. 


Reduced to general terms, the evidence is clear that Wycherley 
selected thoroughly English personalities fitted to the special 
society of Restoration England, and placed them in an action 
that followed Moliere's general scheme. For example, Alceste, the 
polite, cultured gentleman of the French court, becomes Manly, 
the outspoken, brutal ship captain. Both of them possess a belief 
in the iniquity of mankind and in their own merits, and both 
love unresponsive women, but in their manners and actions, as 
well as in their speech, each man conforms to the ways of his 
country and his station. Coarse Manly would have been totally 
insensitive to the issues between Celimene and Alceste; Olivia 
is therefore a lying, cheating, promiscuous woman, with enough 
hypocrisy to make his better impression of her seem plausible. 
The artistic merits of this procedure are warmly defended by 

Les personnages du Misanthrope appartiennent a la societe la plus 
haute et la plus raffinee, Alceste, Philinte, Clitandre, Acaste, Oronte 
sont gentilshommes de Cour, et quelle Cour! Celimene est une femme 
du meilleur monde. Leur conversation est admirablement reglee, leur 
language severement chatie. On se dit des choses fort desagreables sans 
jamais choquer la bienseance. Le monde que peint Wycherley n'est 
peut-etre pas plus mauvais, plus mechant ou plus perverti, mais il est 
moins elegant, moins distingue, moins strict sur les questions d'eti- 
quette; il est en meme temps plus cynique. Et si son manque de delica- 
tesse morale, sa grossierete de sentiments, son fond de brutalite sont 
plus apparents et offensent davantage, c'est qu'il n'avait pas pour les 
masquer cette exquise politesse des manieres exterieures, cette galan- 

It may be useful also to reiterate that Voltaire's description of Widow Blackacre as 
a comtesse of Pimbesche (from Racine's Les Platdeuri) is based on independent 
observations of common elements in life in two different countries, not on borrowing. 
Some scholars as recent as Klette (pp. at., p. 61) are somewhat misleading on the 
point, although W- C. Ward (op. cit. t p. 366) and Perromat (op. at., p. 269), among 
others, are clear. Voltaire said, in "Lettre sur la comedie" (op. dt. t V, 34), "Vous 
remarquerez qu'on a encore larde cette piece d'une comtesse de Pimbesche, vieillc 
plaideuse, parente du capitaine, laquelle est bien la plus plaisante creature et le meilleur 
caracterc qui soit au theatre." 


terie impeccable, qu'aucun pays, dit-on, n'a jamais mieux connues ni 
mieux pratiquees que la France du xvii* siecle. 30 

This difference is not due, as Macaulay and Taine reiterate, to 
Wycherley's desire to degrade everything he touches; it arises 
from his artistic impulse to integrate everything into the life he 
saw about him, as his plain-dealing prologue bluntly tells his 

But the coarse dauber of the coming scenes 
To follow life and nature only means, 
Displays you as you are, make his fine woman 
A mercenary jilt, and true to no man: 
His men of wit and pleasure of the age 
Are as dull rogues as ever cumber'd stage: 
He draws a friend only to custom just, 
And makes him naturally break his trust. 

Voltaire long ago passed the classic judgment on the play in 
comparison with Moliere's. 

Les traits de la piece de Wicherley sont plus hardis que ceux de 
Moliere; mais aussi ils ont moins de finesse et de bienseance. L'auteur 
anglais a corrige le seul defaut qui soit dans la piece de Moliere; ce 
defaut est le manque d'intrigue et d'interet. La piece anglaise est in- 
teressante, et 1'intrigue en est ingenieuse; mais drop hardie pour nos 

moeurs. 81 

We see at once that the spirit and intention of the French 
play have been greatly altered. A delicate satire on the social 
folly of being too uncompromisingly truthful and sincere has 
been turned in places into a berserker denunciation of society 
for its want of honor, truth, and sincerity. But in some places an 
irrelevant satire of social affectations obtrudes, and in others the 
loud noise of farce drowns out the social and moral issues. Even 
Manly, who rages at the conduct of others, is capable of the gross 
revenge on Olivia. Actually the social folly ridiculed in Moliere 

80 Op. cit. t p. 261. 
Of. at., V, 34. 


becomes the virtue praised in Wycherley. Two explanations are 
possible. On the one hand, English manners, even of the Res- 
toration, allowed so much more bluntness of speech than the 
French that it would be hard for the English to think of plain 
dealing as a folly. Wycherley's envenomed philippics against the 
hygocrisy^pf mankind a emphasized aiT idea familiar to the -race 
that bred Marston, Nashe, and Jonson. As a supreme compliment, 
Restoration England dubbed Wycherley "Plain-Dealer" for the 
rest of his life, and Dryden punningly called him Manly 
Wycherley. Moliere's acute study of a delicately comic character 
would have left Englishmen confused; Wycherley may have 
altered the effect in a conscious effort to adapt to his audience, 
On the other hand, the misunderstanding of Moliere's intention 
was almost instantaneous, even in France. The unsigned letter 
inserted in the first edition in 1667 gives an early basis for the 
idea that Moliere used Alceste as a plain-dealing voice against 
the hypocrisies of the age. 32 John Palmer believes the "legend 
of Alceste as an embodiment of philosophic virtue" arose from 
Baron's interpretation of the role. 33 As Baron took the part of 
Alceste from 1673 onward, this interpretation might well have 
reached Wycherley as Moliere's conception. A shift in the sym- 
pathy of an actor could create a new spirit in Moliere's play that 
would be close to the spirit of Wycherley's. 34 We are therefore not 
in possession of the evidence to demonstrate whether Wycherley 
consciously altered the spirit of the French comedy to make it 
conform to his own standards and to the standards of British 
manners, or whether he endeavored to reproduce the spirit of the 

32 The "Lettre ecnte sur la comedie du Misanthrope" is generally credited to Donneau 
de Vise*. See Despois-Mesnard, Oeuvres dc Moliere, V, 368-441. 

33 Mohere, His Life and Wor^s, pp. 342-44. 

34 See Matthews (Moherc, pp. 202-22) for an interpretation of Le Misanthrope close 
to the spirit of The Plain Dealer (which Matthews had no occasion to mention); and 
Palmer (op. cit. t pp. 327-44) for a bnef account of how such misinterpretation of 
Mohere arose. Matthews would credit the Lettre mentioned in the note above to Moliere, 
instead of de Vise. 


play and fell unwitting victim of the wrong interpretation. The 
probabilities are, however, in favor of the former, because, despite 
the strong French influence in his youth, Wycherley was English 
to the core. His acceptance of his honorary title of "Plain- 
Dealer" suggests his own leaning. If he had a Manly-bias in his 
nature, his reading of Le Misanthrope would probably be colored 
by this "humor." In either case, the influence of Moliere is less 
than it was in the case of The Country Wife, and the influence 
of English social life is greater. 35 

In The Plain Dealer, then, Wycherley produced a play whose 
incidents and general action must carry the burden of devastat- 
ing satire of the manners of the age, with its hypocrisy, duplicity, 
lubricity, cheating, selfishness, slander, and carnality of every 
sort. Wit for its own sake is largely absent. The Restoration 
stratification of social types is found only at lighter moments. In 
many ways the intention of the author seems closer to Volpone 
than to The Way of the World. Moliere's sound morality has 
fused with the almost-forgotten memory of Jonson's ethical inten- 
tions. As a result, Wycherley's last play is not his best artistically, 
although its terrifying bludgeon blows cannot be forgotten. Only 
The Country Wife deserves to be classed with the greatest come- 
dies of manners. It achieves this distinction because it subordi- 
nates farcical matter and ethical implications to the one end, the 
presentation of social satire. Aside from the needless distraction 
of the broadly farcical subplot of Freeman and Widow Black- 
acre, The Plain Dealer confuses ethical satire with social, and its 
defects arise from this confusion. The author has forgotten the 
experience of the Caroline dramatists, that the two types of satire 
do not mix well. 86 

In summarizing the evidence we have gathered, we observe 

85 The reader will see this as a clear example of the application of the Criterion I 
mentioned above in Chap. IL Here a pseudo-Moherc comic spirit is at work. It lacks 
centrality in the source. 

36 See Davis, "The 'Sons of Ben* in English Realistic Comedy," II, 930-45. 


that as Wycherley progressed from play to play, as he became, 
so to speak, more completely himself and likewise more distinctly 
British, he leaned more heavily upon Moliere. As the memory of 
his adolescent years spent in France became dimmer, there was 
a steady increase in the extent and profundity of the influence 
Moliere exerted upon him. The use of Moliere is nil in the first 
play, negligible in the second, very important in the manner of 
the third, and formative of the spirit and of much of the matter 
of the fourth. Wycherley was too complacent in taking his own 
where he found it to bother to hide his borrowing. But the art 
and the power are clearly Wycherley's, not Moliere's. As he 
himself wrote later, 

For tho' the Matter that a Writer treats of be not new, the Disposi- 
tion, Method, or Uses of it may be new; as it is the same Ball which 
good and bad Gamesters play with, but one forces or places it better 
than another, by a different Art, Use, or Disposal of it. ST 

This influence from France, which grew in inverse ratio to the 
normal processes of recollection, is understandable enough if we 
assume that it came from reading, not from hearing, the great 
playwright. Our author arose from this reading with useful mate- 
rials, particularly suggestions for leading characters and for good 
situations. In his later plays he incorporated elements that are 
central to the Frenchman's matter, and after a complete Angli- 
cization, he made these elements central to his own. He thus 
owes a large debt for matter, but, most important of all, he seems 
to have learned how to achieve the effects of comic irony, and, 
to some extent, how to sustain these effects by the elimination 
of the usual irrelevant farcical incidents. But this borrowing of 
technique must not be confusedly called an importation of true 
spirit, for the benign, reflective sobriety of Moliere is wholly 
different from the profoundly malicious cynicism of Wycherley. 
Yet without Moliere, if one may judge by the first plays, he 

87 Posthumous Worfa pp. 7-8. 


might have been a sardonic wit who missed greatness through 
a confusion of ends. In the later plays an excellence arises from 
a change in dramaturgy, and this change may have been sug- 
gested by ideas from France. Perhaps it was the reaction of his 
mind to Moliere's that made Wycherley great. 


NEITHER Dryden nor Shadwell is important enough in 
the history of Restoration comedy, particularly as it relates 
to Moliere, to deserve a whole chapter by himself in this study; 
on the other hand, neither deserves submergence into the gen- 
eral group of minor writers. As a compromise, we must ask 
these inveterate enemies to lie down together. One can see some 
resemblances between them, but the similarities can provide only 
a specious sort of unity on which to consolidate two essentially 
disparate discussions. It is true that each had a habit of turning 
out plays he did not admire, in order to make money he could 
not do without. Each raised this business to a high degree of 
competence, and each fell short of producing examples of great 
comic art. Each lived and wrote during the whole span of years 
from the return of Charles until after the flight of James. Each 
enjoyed contemporary success and received the flattery of con- 
temporary imitation. Finally, each wrote plays in the dramatic 
tradition that had come down from early Jacobean days; and 
each borrowed from Moliere. But we must ignore all these like- 
nesses as not pertinent, and put the two men side by side in 
this chapter merely to give them the degree of emphasis they 


Dryden opened his long theatrical career with The Wild Gal- 
lant (February, 1663), a poorly received maiden effort which 
possesses many elements reminiscent of Jonson, Fletcher, and 
Shirley, and some that were destined to find a prominent place 


in later Restoration successes. Its interest for this study arises 
from its intermediate place in the evolution of the comedy of 
manners. For example, the two young women, Lady Constance 
and Isabelle, are gay and witty, not wholly unlike Rosalura and 
Lillia Bianca in Fletchers The Wild Goose Chase (c. 1621), al- 
though more like Gatty and Ariana of She Would If She Could 
(February, 1668). Isabelle forces on Sir Timorous a prenuptial 
bargain that reveals the Restoration dislike of country life; in 
this proviso scene she also insists, as Millamant does later, on 
"the choice of my own company, my own hours, and my own 
actions." She had previously resolved to capture Sir Timorous 
for his money; her pursuit is gaily shameless. 1 While Sir Timor- 
ous resembles the gull of the older Jonsonian mode, he also 
conforms to a common type of Restoration butt, the simple, un- 
mannerly rural knight. The episode of pretended pregnancies, 
which closes the plot, is on the level of Brome's vulgarities; the 
incidental flashes of wit are anticipatory of similar qualities in 
later plays. Lady Constance and Loveby are at an interesting 
intermediate stage of dramatic development: too flippant for the 
romantic mood, they are too obviously in love with each other 
to achieve the absence of emotion characteristic of lovers of the 
best Restoration style. Dryden fabricated the plot from pre- 
Restoration materials, concealing his sources by removing verbal 
likenesses and by recombining familiar elements. A recent analysis 
of The Wild Gallant found character or plot resemblances to 
Fletcher's Wit at Several Weapons (1608-9), Middleton's Fair 
Quarrel (1616), Brome's City Wit (1629), and Mad Couple Well 
Matched (1636), and Shirley's The Witty Fair One (1628) and 
The Lady of Pleasure (1635). The last of these, in turn, is based 
on an earlier pattern, reverting to Fletcher for a device that 
Shirley could not provide, a witty leading man opposite the witty 

1 Dramatic Worlds of Dryden, ed. by Scott-Saintsbury, II, 72-76 (Act III, scene i). 
All citations to volume and page found below refer to this edition. 


woman. 2 By this combination Dryden produced the Restoration 
town wit and "arrived at the essential pattern of the Restora- 
tion comedy of manners." 3 No trace of Moliere is found here; 4 
the play is important in this study because it provides us with 
the first piece of potent evidence that the Restoration comedy of 
manners might have arisen independent of Moliere's comic spirit. 
It reveals some of the possibilities of the English dramatic re- 
sources. 5 

In The Rival Ladies (c. June, 1664) Dryden made his first 
adaptation of his flirtatious lovers to tragicomedy. By this time 
Etherege had used not dissimilar characters in The Comical Re- 
venge, or Love in a Tub (March, 1664), and the pattern of true 
Restoration comedy was taking form. While crediting Dryden 
with the "heralding" of the comedy of manners, "if not with its 
inception," Allardyce Nicoll notes the salient points of his comic 

Dryden introduces a kind of spurious romance into his comedies 
which Congreve never knew. Sometimes he is more given to humours: 
and nowhere did he know the fine sparkle and zest with which the 
masters of the new comedy irradiated their compositions. The heroes 
of Etherege and of Congreve, too, are more dilettante than Dryden's 
are: there is a certain intensity about the wild madcap flirtations of 

2 Hickerson, "Significance of James Shirley's Realistic Plays," pp. 288-99, 199-237. 

*lbtd., p. 299. 

* So far as I can learn, this opinion is held by every one except Gillet (Moliere en 
Anglcterre> p. 122). In the section, "Traces cparses de Pinfluence de Moliere,'* he gives 
three commonplace parallels lacking identifying peculiarities, and says that the play 
"fat d'abord represente*e sans succes en 1663, mais reparut sur la scene en 1669. Dryden 
y avait apporte certaines modifications dont quelques-unes sont inspirees de Molicre." 
Since only the 1669 version is extant, it seems that the need of avoiding a false 
chronology makes him believe Dryden inserted these trivial details from Moliere into 
the revised version. The conclusion is entirely forced. Molicre has not been shown to be 
the source of anything in the play. 

5 See Gaw, "Tuke's Adventure of Five Hours in Relation to the 'Spanish Plot* and 
to John Dryden," for evidence that The Wild Gallant had no Spanish source. The con- 
clusions are summarized on page 60. Allen (Sources of Dryden's Comedies, pp. 1-49) 
gives a detailed analysis of The Wild Gallant in relation to its British sources and to 
the comedy of manners. 


Dryden's Lovebys and Fainalls that is more emotional and more real, 
in the ordinary sense of that word, than the cynical intellectualism of 
the characters, let us say, of Etherege. The world of roues did not sit 
very well on Dryden. He had a heart and he showed it, and, although 
he could be more vulgar and more indecent than the worst of them, 
he sets our sympathies a-trembling for his lovers, wicked, frivolous, 
stupid creatures though they be. 6 

Two years later, in Secret Love, or the Maiden Queen (March, 
1667), Dryden brought his flirting lovers to their highest devel- 
opment in Celadon and Florimel, and thus made what has been 
called his greatest contribution to the comedy of manners. 7 In 
the same year he used Moliere's Ufctourdi as the source of Sir 
Martin Mar-All, or the Feigned Innocence (August, 1667), which 
was discussed at some length above, in Chapter III. 

When Dryden failed to acknowledge a moderate debt to 
Moliere for matter in An Evening's Love, or the Moc\ Astrologer 
(June, 1668), he provided the opening for Langbaine's later at- 
tacks on his literary honesty. He admits in the preface and in 
the epilogue that the play is an alteration of Le Feint Astrologue 
of Thomas Corneille, which is, he says, a version of Calderon's 
El Astrologo fingido. He defends his adaptation, pointing to the 
addition of the parts of Wildblood and Jacintha as considerable, 
and insists that the wit and language are his own. Langbaine 
violently attacked Dryden as a habitual plagiarist, and specifi- 
cally charged that this statement of his is deliberately false, for 
Wildblood and Jacintha, said he, were copied from Le Depit 
amoureux. He also mentioned two other borrowings from 
Moliere, which he charged Dryden with concealing* 8 Dryden's 
truthfulness in regard to his use of Corneille cannot be ques- 

6 Restoration Drama, p. 214. 

7 By Allen, op. cit., pp. 106-10. Allen also analyses Dryden's use of material from 
Le Grand Cyrus of Madeleine de Scudery (pp. 80-106). 

8 Langbaine, Account of the English Dramatic^ Poets, pp. 131-77. 


tioned. 9 In the first two acts no borrowings from Moliere are 
found. The chief figures of the play are Restoration English 
rakes pursuing two young Spanish women, who surprise the 
audience by proving to be as witty and as emancipated as their 
sisters of the contemporary English stage. By the time we reach 
the third act, one of the lesser figures, Aurelia, uses language 
that recalls Moliere. She is an exponent of "spiritual and refined 
language," by which she means such affectations as the overuse 
of "furious" as an omnibus adjective, the dragging of imagina- 
tive euphemisms into common speech, and a fashionable slur- 
ring of pronunciation. This seems to be a species of English folly, 
but the euphemism, "the counsellor of the graces," is an exact 
translation of Madelon's "le conseiller des graces" in Les Prtcie- 
uses ridicules. A short passage will illustrate these points. 

Aur. How am I dressed to-night, Camilla? is nothing disordered in 
my head? 

Cam. [Aurelia's maid] Not the least hair, madam. 

Aur. No! Let me see: Give me the counsellor of the graces. 

Cam. The counsellor of the graces, madam! 

Aur. My glass> I mean: What, will you never be so spiritual as to 
understand refined language? 

Cam. Madaml 

Aur. Madam me no madam, but learn to retrench your words; and 
say ma'am; as, yes ma'am, and no ma'am, as other ladies' women do. 
Madam! 'tis a year in pronouncing. 

Cam. Pardon me, madam. 

Aur. Yet again, ignorance! Par-don, madam! fie, fie, what a super- 
fluity is there, and how much sweeter the cadence is par'n me, ma'am! 
and for your ladyship, your la'ship. Out upon't, what a furious indi- 
gence of ribbons is here upon my head! 10 

9 Ott (Uber das VerhaHtnis des Lustspicl-Dichters Dry den zur .. .Mohere, pp. 23-33) 
made a detailed study of Dryden's plot in relation to its sources Harvey-Jelhe (Les 
Sources du theatre anglais a Vepoque de la restauration, pp. 81-87) retraces the material. 
More recently Allen (op. at., pp. 154-70) restudied the evidence. All three agree that 
Le Feint Astrologue of Thomas Corneille is the chief source of the plot, but that the 
wit and the language are Dryden's. 

10 Act III, scene i. In Dramatic Wor\s, HI, 296-97. 


The probabilities favor the conclusion that Aurelia's affectations 
are sketched from life, for the enjoyment of such a satire depends 
upon the existence of the folly ridiculed. But Aurelia reminds 
the modern reader, and doubtless she also reminded Dryden, 
of her French cousins, Madelon and Cathos, and he made the 
specific borrowing of a few words from the play, nothing 

In the same scene, Alonzo and Lopez, two Spanish nobles, 
produce three pages of comic conversation that Dryden obvi- 
ously composed with his Moliere open at Le DC fit amour eux, 
Act II, scene 6. In his play Moliere brought a pedant, Metaphraste, 
into a conversation with Albert, an elderly gentleman. After the 
parade of meaningless knowledge usual with stage pedants, 
Metaphraste prevents Albert from talking by insistent interrup- 
tions, chiefly to say that he is listening or is silent, and to com- 
plain that Albert says nothing. Dryden drops the pedantry. He 
makes both Alonzo and Lopez eager to speak and both resentful 
of the other's insistence on speaking. Thus the spectacle of two 
men talking at once replaces interruption. In both plays the epi- 
sodes end when one character puts the other to flight by ringing 
a bell in his ears. While Moliere's scene is imitated from Le 
Deniase, by Gillet de la Tessonerie (acted in 1647, printed in 
1652)," Dryden used the more obvious source, and even trans- 
lated phrases freely into his version. 12 As the passage is out of 
character for the Spanish gentlemen, Dryden seems to have used 
it for its intrinsically comic action; he did not derive these char- 
acters from Moliere, nor did he use him again in the part of 
the plot in which they appeared. 

A passage of a dozen lines reveals Camilla extracting jnoney 
from Aurelia's suitor, Don Melchor de Guzman, by a trick that 

11 Sec Dcspois-Mcsnard, Oeuvres de Moliere I, 444, note 3. 

12 Gillet (Mohere en Angleterre, pp. 170-77) gives the evidence in parallel columns. 


follows Le Depit very obviously for about a half dozen short 
speeches. 13 

The same method of composing, with Moliere open before 
him, was used more extensively in Act IV, scene 3. Having 
promised Jacintha money that he cannot deliver, Wildblood de- 
cides to "face it out with another quarrel" The ensuing five 
pages are a close adaptation, at times mere translation, of a 
quarrel in Le Dtpit. But the source again provided the incident, 
not the characters. 14 Everything before and after the passage 
borrowed takes a different line of action, and Dryden's charac- 
ters have no general resemblance to Moliere's. 

Our examination of the plays involved in the controversy 
started by Langbaine reveals some arguments on both sides. Al- 
though Dryden did use Moliere without saying so, his conten- 
tion that his characters are original is also sound enough, for 
they satisfied the Restoration notions of gallant rakes and witty 
women. They possess a kind of savoir faire that is much more 
Restoration English than French. On Langbaine's side, the evi- 
dence is clear that in four disconnected passages Dryden has 
utilized comic devices found in Moliere. None of these is so well 
integrated with the character that it entirely avoids the classifica- 
tion of "comic decoration." 15 In no case is the character or the 
intrigue determined by the borrowing. 16 It is much more likely 

13 Cf. Dryden, Act IV, scene 2, with Moliere, Act I, Scene 2. 

14 Cf. Dryden, Act IV, scene 3, with Moliere, Act IV, scenes 3 and 4. 

15 I am borrowing this useful phrase from Campbell (Comedies of Holberg, p. 108). 
He defines it: "In all comedy there must be many moments the humour of which de- 
pends, not upon their relation to the dramatic purpose of the whole play, but solely 
upon their own extraordinary and unexpected nature. They are devices for keeping the 
audience amused by the way, while the humour of a situation or of a character is 
being systematically yet gradually presented." 

16 In his zeal to prove plagiarism, Langbaine (op. at., p. 131) afforded an early 
example of a very common fallacy: "he borrowed incident, ergo he borrowed characters 
involved in the incident." In giving to Wildblood and Jacintha an incident from Le 
Deptt amourcux, Dryden did not borrow the characters, for their characteristics would 
be essentially unchanged if the borrowed matter were stricken out of the play; those 
characteristics are not from Moliere. 


that the need recalled Moliere and that Dryden took what he 
wanted where he found it. 17 

Dryden presented no more comedies for four years, and then, 
in 1672, brought out two plays owing little or nothing to Moliere, 
but deserving some discussion. The first, Marriage a la Mode 
(c. May, 1672), contains a typically English satire on women 
who aspired to be more refined than the average; such satire 
goes back at least to the "ladies collegiates" of The Silent Woman 
(1609). Miss Lynch has traced in detail the existence in seven- 
teenth-century English society of a serious cult of Astree and of 
platonism, 18 and shows that it bridged the gap of Puritan domi- 
nation. 19 English women, then, with an ambition for the social 
ornaments of the more cultured, would naturally imitate some- 
thing not totally unlike French preciosite. Satirists would ob- 
serve these affectations and ridicule them without any debt to 
Moliere or any acquaintance with the spirit of the Hotel de 
Rambouillet. Early preciosite, it must be remembered, was a seri- 
ous and fairly intelligent movement for the refinement of French 
speech and manners, which early in the seventeenth century 
were decidedly crude. Under the inspiration of the Marquise de 
Rambouillet, it established the salon and stimulated current lit- 
erature and active scholarship. Naturally such a large body of 
people had a "lunatic fringe" that pushed attempts to refine life 
and language to absurd extremes. By the time Moliere arrived 
in Paris from the provinces, the refinements had been inflated 
into an ethereal bubble awaiting the pin prick of comic laughter. 
All Paris was solemnly respectful to a silly cult whose adherents 
affected to abandon their real emotions, their common sense, and, 

17 Although developed independently, my list of borrowings above coincides exactly 
with that of Ott (op. at, pp. 23-64). Gillet (op. at., p. 88) would add L'tcole des 
mans, Le Tartuffe, and Don Juan. His only citation of a parallel passage to one of 
these (with L'tcole des mans, pp. 168-69) is far-fetched Allen (Sources of "Dry den's 
Comedies, p. 155) seems to have unlimited confidence in Gillet. 

18 Social Mode of Restoration Comedy, Chaps. MV, passim. 
19 /&</., pp. 107-36. 


in general, all realities of human existence. The leadership had 
shifted from the Marquise to her daughter and to the romance- 
writing Mademoiselle de Scudery. The latter had led the refined 
lovers to the middle of her Map of the Tender Passion and 
there they were destroyed by the barbs of the savage Moliere. 
While platonism and romance were international, the distinctly 
French aspects of preciosite were the center of Moliere's attack. 
Thus it is easy to see that though Melantha of Marriage a la 
Mode faintly recalls the precieuses of Moliere's satire, her ab- 
surdities have little in common with French affectations. She is 
in effect almost a "humor" type, for she has one master impulse, 
to render her manners and speech elegant with studied posture 
and hastily memorized French words, which she requires her 
maid to provide daily. 20 As French was commonly spoken in 
England, Restoration audiences surely knew many ludicrous 
pretenders to a facility in the tongue; audiences likewise knew 
French well enough to catch the wit of the play, much of which 
they would otherwise miss. Melantha, for example, speaks trans- 
lated French idiom, "He mocks himself of me." 21 So there is, 
after all, nothing so close that a positive connection can be af- 
firmed. It is likely that Dryden was unable to think of Melantha 
without recalling Moliere, and some of the faint resemblances 
may be echoes. Probabilities are not facts; it is a possible, not a 
certain borrowing. 

Dryden's second comedy of the year, The Assignation, or Love 
in a 'Nunnery (c. November, 1672), contains nothing that can 
be positively credited to Moliere, although a few slight similari- 
ties can be found. 22 It needs no extended consideration here, for 

20 Act III, scene i. Dramatic Works, IV, 303-5. 

21 Act V, scene i. Ibid., IV, 348, 

22 Miles (Influence of Mohere on Restoration Comedy, p. 225), for example, says that 
Bemto is a free adaptation of Lehe in Ufctowrdi. Benito is a foolish servant, who per- 
sists in imagining he is a witty and gallant gentleman. All his efforts are blunders that 
interfere with the amours of his master. Lelie is a stupid master who hinders his clever 
servant in the latter's efforts to help him gab his beloved. The only resemblance is that 
comedy is made of blundering about a love affair. 


traces of Moliere are much less prominent than the evidences 
that the author is in the sphere of the English tradition. During 
the next eighteen years Dryden produced eleven plays without 
using anything from Moliere. If the identification of a possible 
borrowing in Marriage a la Mode is rejected, the gap extends 
twenty-two years, from The Moc% Astrologer to Amphitryon, or 
The Two Sodas (April, 1690). As soon as one opens this latter 
play, one encounters in the dedicatory letter Dryden's frank 
admission of dependence, which deftly shifts into a modest claim 
to originality: 

It is true, were this comedy wholly mine, I should call it a trifle, and 
perhaps not think it worth your patronage; but when the names of 
Plautus and Moliere are joined in it, that is, the two greatest names of 
ancient and modern comedy, I must not presume so far on their repu- 
tation, to think their best and most unquestioned productions can be 
termed litde. I will not give you the trouble of acquainting you what 
I have added, or altered, in either of them, so much, it may be, for the 
worse; but only that the difference of our stage from the Roman and 
the French did so require it. But I am afraid, for my own interest, the 
world will too easily discover that more than half of it is mine; and 
that the rest is rather a lame imitation of their excellences than a just 
translation. It is enough, that the reader know by you, that I neither 
deserve nor desire any applause from it: if I have performed anything, 
it is the genius of my authors that inspired me; and, if it pleased in rep- 
resentation, let the actors share the praise amongst themselves. As for 
Plautus and Moli&re, they are dangerous people; and I am too weak a 
gamester to put myself into their form of play. 28 

By this last phrase Dryden seems to be offering apologies for 
the merit of his facile recasting of a continental play into a 
strictly British mold, which is the chief virtue his production 
possesses. The prologues and the lengthy expository speeches of 
Plautus and Moliere are put into dialogue, in conformity with 
the stage tradition of England. The increase of complication 
over Moliere is not very great, consisting chiefly of the Phaedra- 

23 Dramatic Wor& VIII, 8-9. 


Gripus material; in many instances direct dramatization is ef- 
fectively substituted for indirect matter in his predecessors. The 
"gratuitous indelicacy" with which Scott reproaches him 24 is 
the normal Restoration comic idiom. The adaptation, taken all 
in all, is masterly, not servile. Although Moliere is largely an 
intermediary for the influence of Plautus, he is not wholly so, 
for Dryden borrowed some unimportant material that originated 
with the second version. Miles has noticed a comic incident that 
is very probably borrowed from Le Manage force 25 an amusing 
challenge to fight a duel. Such a minor incident is, however, of 
little significance. Amphitryon contains Dryden's last borrowing 
from Moliere. 26 

After a study of the three Amphitryons by Plautus, by Moli- 
ere, and by Dryden I am drawn to the sensible remarks of 

It is probable that in point of absolute originality there is not much 
to choose between them, for Plautus must pretty certainly have had a 
model. The Roman poet is the most humorous of the three, as Moliere 
is the most decent in treating a situation where to be decent without 
being dull is a proof of consummate art. But in the life and bustle 
proper to comedy Dryden excels both his formidable predecessors, and 
two particular innovations of his, the introduction of Judge Gripus, 
and the separation of the parts of Sosia's wife and Alcmena's hand- 

p . 2. 

25 Op at., p. 225. 

26 Miles has reported borrowings from Moliere also in The Kind Keeper, or Mr. 
Limberham (March, 1678), The Spanish Friar, or the Double Discovery (March, 1680), 
and the tragi-comedy, Love Triumphant, or Nature will Prevail (1693), but a critical 
examination of the resemblances does not allow me to classify any of them as probable. 
He says, for example (op. at., p. 109), that in Umber ham Dryden professed to write 
a social satire in imitation of Le Tartuffe; and (p. 231) that "Mrs. Saintly is a free 
adaptation of Tartuffe." Dryden, in reality, professed in his dedication to Lord Vaughan, 
(Wor%s, VI, 9) that "It was intended for an honest satire against our crying sin of 
keeping" obviously a sin entirely outside the scope of Le Tartuffe. In discussing the 
removal of his play from the boards after only three performances, a removal that 
Saintsbury says is "certainly mysterious/' Dryden remarks merely (ibid., VI, 10) that 
the "same fortune" (apparently legal suppression) befell Mohere's Le Tartuffe. Mrs. 
Saintly is a conventional Restoration stage type, a lascivious old woman hiding behind 
the cloak of Puritanism. Her hypocrisy is her sole likeness to Tartuffe. 


maid are exceedingly happy. It should perhaps be observed that to speak 
of Dryden's play as a mere adaptation o Moliere's, as both French and 
German writers not uncommonly do, is an entire mistake; and those 
who make it can hardly have read both pieces, or, if they have done 
this, can hardly have read Plautus. 27 

Over a period of thirty years then, Dryden produced eight 
comedies and several tragicomedies with comic plots, none of 
them showing the excellence to be expected from the greatest 
and most versatile genius of the Restoration. His deserved place 
as literary leader of the age was not won by his comedies, though 
they are far from negligible. Perhaps his loud contempt for 
comedy as a literary genre was the cause of his relative mediocrity 
in the type. Perhaps it would be more in accord with present- 
day modes of thought to say that it was the effect, the usual device 
for defending oneself by minimizing the importance of what 
one does not do well. In either case his materials for comedy 
would not be likely to influence his whole thought deeply. Dry- 
den as lyric poet, as literary critic, as translator, as satirist, or 
even as writer of heroic and tragic drama would not be affected 
by the materials which he chose for use in his least successful 

In two of the eight comedies, Sir Martin Mar-All and Am- 
phitryon, there is a heavy debt, but in both the Frenchman 
was an intermediary adapter of an earlier play, and, while writ- 
ing each, Dryden had another version on his table at the side 
of Moliere's text. Two more of the eight, An Evening's Love and 
Marriage a la Mode, contain minor borrowings, in one case prob- 
ably rather than certainly. Very little that is strictly original with 
Moliere can be found, and none of it is central to Dryden's comic 
material, which is composed primarily of flirtations between lov- 
ers fond of playing "amatory Battledore and Shuttlecock,'* to use 
Saintsbury's happy phrase. These lovers are nearly always entan- 
gled in flippant sexual intrigues, they talk brilliantly, and they 

^Dramatic Worfe, VIII, 4-5. 


behave in general accord with Restoration manners. With the 
scene of the play nominally laid in some foreign land, we have 
a combination that recalls the romantic Elizabethans, who almost 
habitually dramatized English manners and institutions with the 
name of another country attached. All this is far from the norm 
of Moliere. 


At the side of Dryden we place his enemy and butt, the arro- 
gant imitator and worshiper of Jonson, Thomas Shadwell, whose 
plays remain to challenge Dryden's telling charges of dullness. 
When he opened the career that carried him in comedy above 
his tormentor's level, he chose the field of realistic comedy in 
the manner of Jonson and incurred a considerable debt to 
Moliere. In the preface to The Sullen 'Lovers, or the Impertinent* 
(May, 1668), Dryden, Etherege, and Sedley were all hit by the 
criticism of recent plays, in which "the two chief persons are 
most commonly a swearing, drinking, whoring ruffian for a 
lover, and an impudent, ill-bred Tomrig for a mistress, and these 
are the fine people of the play." Although admittedly written in 
the vein of Jonson, Shadwell avowed his debt to Moliere in the 

The first Hint I receiv'd was from the Report of a Play of Moliere' s 
of three Acts, called Les Fascheux, upon which I wrote a great Part of 
this before I read that; and after it came to my Hands, I found so little 
for my Use (having before upon that Hint design'd the fittest Charac- 
ters I could for my Purpose) and that I have made Use of but two short 
Scenes which I inserted afterwards (&i#.) the first Scene in the Second 
Act between Stanford and Roger, and Moliere 's Story of Piquette, 
which I have translated into Back-gammon, both of them being so 
vary'd you would not know them. 28 

There is no reason for thinking this is other than a substantially 
accurate statement of the facts. 

28 Works of Shadwell (17*0), Vol. L 


Moliere's Les Fdcheux, his first comedie-bcdlet, from which 
Shadwell got his "hint," was put together in fifteen days. The 
plot is not important. raste, lover of Orphise, in his efforts to 
see her, is constantly interrupted by a series of bores, each a hit 
on a contemporary type or person. After an even dozen appear, 
firaste unexpectedly wins the father's consent to marry the girl, 
and the play ends with his ennui over the intrusion of maskers. 
In The Sullen Lovers, Shadwell reproduces the general intention 
of a social satire and the same general plot, a succession of en- 
counters with bores. He makes extensive alterations in all details, 
the characters becoming wholly English. All his "impertinents" 
possess individual "humors." Two or three times as bulky, his 
play amplifies and complicates, where Moliere's depends upon 
the perfection of a single stroke, firaste is fairly civil in his annoy- 
ance and is amused to a certain degree; he has no "humor." 
Shadwell replaces him by Stanford, "a morose, melancholy Man, 
tormented beyond Measure with the impertinence of People and 
resolved to leave the World to be quit of them." Shadwell adds 
Lovel, a friend to Stanford, who gets recreation by laughing at 
these same impertinents and at Stanford's misanthropic hatred 
of them. He also invents Emilia and Carolina, "of the same 
humor" as Stanford and Lovel respectively. The bores are re- 
duced in number and given more action and greatly exaggerated 
"humors." They are fully Anglicized. Character types and rela- 
tionships echo the witty woman and her suitors, as well as the 
social pretenders found in Shirley's synthesis of Jonsonian and 
Fletcherian materials. 29 The play centers in the same situation 
as Moliere's, the manners are vulgarized, the speeches are occa- 
sionally obscene, but the deft imagination of Moliere is missing; 
on the whole, however, it contains the same social criticism and 
develops it by the same method. Yet it owed its great success very 
largely to Shadwell's realism and his portrayal of recognized 

28 See Hickcrson, "Significance of James Shirley's Realistic Plays," p. 357. 


types of "humors." It ranks fairly high as an adaptation of 
Moliere. 30 

Shadwell seems to have interested himself more in the Jon- 
sonian side of The Sullen Lovers than in the contribution of 
Moliere to his plot, for in his second comedy, The Humorists 
(c. December, 1670), he was an entirely English writer of a 
realistic "humor" comedy of no inconsiderable verve. His model 
was the Duke of Newcastle's The Humorous Lovers (March, 
1667). Shadwell followed the taste of the time, the speech of the 
court, and the precedents of the English stage in his comic por- 
trayal of Crazy, the diseased, but not disheartened, lover of all 
women. The other types are the witty coxcomb, the vain fop, 
the verbose parson and fellow of a college, a French surgeon 
originally a barber, an amorous old lady, a silly city woman, a 
"vain Wench," and a busy bawd. Contrasted to these are "a gen- 
tleman of wit and honour" and "a witty, ayery young Lady" 
who win each other. 31 

After The Miser (January, 1672), the adaptation of Moliere's 
UAvare discussed above in Chapter III, came Epsom Wells (De- 
cember, 1672). By this time Shadwell had shifted in the direction 
of the wit he had initially abominated. While The Miser goes 
halfway, Epsom Wells has as a "chief Subject ... Bawdy and 
Prof aneness," 32 and Shadwell is no longer on the side of humors 
and decency to the exclusion of Restoration manners. Epsom 

30 Much unacceptable identification of slightly similar social types is found in the 
comments of Van Laun and Miles. Stanford hates bores and rails misanthropically; 
hence the easy assertion that he is a copy of Alceste. He resembles Alceste no more than 
he does Shakespeare's Timon or Marston's Malevole. Vague similarities between other 
characters in Le Misanthrope are called borrowings, on even less foundation. A bit of 
pedantry raised a debt to Pancrace of Le Manage force, as though Moliere first staged 
pedantry and pedantic speech. 

31 Miles (Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, p. 23 1 ) stands alone in assert- 
ing that "The courting of Theodosia by Crazy, Brisk, and Drybob is a reminiscence of 
Le Misanthrope, where Celimene is courted by Acaste, Chtandre, and Oronte." The 
only clear similarity is in the number of suitors. 

32 The words he applied to his competitors in the preface to The Sullen Lovers 
(Works, 1720, I, [10]. 


Wells was justly rated very high in the author's estimation. Dry- 
den's random shot, the remark that the wit was Sedley's, must 
have hurt cruelly. The play is a gayly immoral, realistic expres- 
sion of many of the social attitudes characteristic of the best 
comedies of the time. It owes nothing to Moliere. 33 Instead, it 
shows that when he abandoned the "humors'* of Jonson, Shad- 
well turned to the successes of Etherege, Dryden, and Sedley. 
Dr. Borgman has pointed out that the plot of Epsom Wells 
"bears a closer resemblance to She Would If She Could than to 
any other play." 34 The characters and the action are both in 
the English tradition. Selection of a watering place for a back- 
ground recalls Shirley's Hyde Parl^ (1632), Brome's The Spar a- 
gus Garden (1635), Sedley's The Mulberry Garden (May, 1668), 
and Wycherley's St. James's Par\ (c. April, 1671), and it antici- 
pates Rawlins' Tunbridge Wells (c. March, 1678), and Shadwell's 
later Bury Fair (c. April, 1689). In all these the characters and 
the action are related in some degree to the manners and peculiari- 
ties of a background familiar to the English. In Epsom Wells, 
Raines and Bevil together with Carolina and Lucia, provide the 
social norm of Restoration wits of both sexes. Kick and Cuff are 
cowardly pretenders to the rank of gentlemanly rakes. The two 
subplots introduce a gulled country justice and two London 
citizens, who have the surprising experience of making their 
cuckolding the source of their dominance over their wives. As 
usual in English comedy after Jonson, the shams of social pre- 
tenders are contrasted with the manners of the socially secure. 
Thus Shadwell was still a grandson of Ben, even when "humors" 
were dropped. 

83 Miles (op. at., p. 230), Nicoll (Restoration Drama, p. 175), and others mention 
an episode in the closing scene of Act IV, which they say comes from Le Medecin 
malgre ltd. The similarity consists of one of the oldest motifs in low comedy, a quarrel 
between man and wife. Miles says, "CuF, Kick, and Clodpate are reminiscences of 
Acastc, Oitandre, and Alceste in Le Misanthrope." Again the resemblance seems to be 
entirely in the number. 

84 Thomas Shadwell, p. 153. 


Shadwell's next attempts were in opera. In the second of these, 
the elaborate Psyche (February, 1675), he undoubtedly used 
something from Moliere's share of Psyche, a tragedie-ballet in 
five acts. Moliere, Quinault, and Corneille had written this unim- 
portant product in hasty collaboration at royal command. Shad- 
well admits only his use of the Psyche of the Metamorphoses of 
Apuleius* Interest in the work, such as it is, relates to its stress 
on elaborate scenes and advanced stage machinery, and to its 
place in the evolution of the opera in England. The author is 
duly apologetic in the prologue. 

For he [the author] this gaudy Trifle wrote so fast, 
Five Weeks begun and finish'd this Design, 
In those few he snatch'd from Friends and Wine; 
And since in better Things h'has [sic] spent his Time, 
With which he hopes ere long t'attone this Crime. 

But none of them [his foes] yet so severe can be, 
As to condemn this Trifle more than he. 35 

Adaptation, paraphrase, or copy, Psyche had no measurable in- 
fluence on English comedy and brought nothing distinctive of 
Moliere to England. 

The only other play of 1675 that calls up the thought of Moliere 
is ShadwelFs The Libertine (June, 1675), which deals with the 
well known Don Juan legend, of which Moliere's Le Festin de 
pierre is a famous dramatic version. Scholars are now generally 
agreed that Shadwell drew from Le Nouveau Festin de pierre 
by Rosimond, although he probably knew Moliere's play. 36 There 
is some indirect influence, for Rosimond came after Moliere and 
utilized his work. Shadwell's version resembles both in having a 
fatal close, although his treatment is essentially comic. 

During the next eighteen years Shadwell staged and published 

85 Wor\s, 1720, Vol. II. 

86 See Miles, op. dt., p. 231; Reihmann, Thomas Shadwells Tragodte "The Libertine" 
und ihr Vcrhaltms zu den voi ausgchenden Bearbcttungen dcr Don Juan-Saga, p. 60. 


nine more comedies, only two of which show any relation to 
Moliere, even for the details of "comic decoration." Nevertheless, 
as in the instances of Etherege, Dryden, and Congreve, allegations 
of borrowings have been carried to extremes. As a matter of fact, 
it was only after he had turned away from a close imitation of 
Jonsonian "humors" and from a careful adaptation of French 
comedy that Shadwell reached, in Epsom Wells, a level of ex- 
cellence above Dryden and only slightly below the accepted lead- 
ers, for in wit, vis comica, realism, and dramaturgy, Epsom Wells 
and The Squire of Alsatia (May, 1688) are as original as any- 
thing in the period. The fact that he did borrow previously 
seems to have led critics to assume a wholesale plagiarism where 
none existed. Superficial likenesses, that prove nothing, are cited, 
for example, by Miles, to show that Shadwell borrowed from 
Moliere in Epsom Wells, The Virtuoso (May, 1676), The Woman 
Captain (c. September, 1679), The Squire of Alsatia, Bury Fair 
(c. April, 1689), The Amorous Bigot (c. March, 1690), The 
Scowrers (c. December, 1690), and The Volunteers, or the Stoc\ 
Jobbers (c. November, 1692) . S7 In only two cases is the evidence 
convincing. The first of these, Bury Fair, shows an interesting 
and complex relationship to Moliere that needs careful analysis. 
The spirit of the play is extraordinary, considering its time and 
antecedents. Four years before the debut of Congreve and nine 
before the attack of Jeremy Collier, the new poet laureate pointed 
the way to an unsalacious comedy in which clearly romantic im- 
pulses appear in the leading characters. 

Mr. Oldwit, a devotee of the sort of wit heard in the days of 
the first Charles, and his intimate friend, Sir Humphrey Noddy, 
an enthusiastic perpetrator of practical jokes and absurd puns, 
are copies from the Duke of Newcastle's The Triumphant Widow, 
or the Medley of Humours (November, 1674). They are excellent 
examples of the lower order of would-bes, those who thought 

37 Influence of Mohere on Restoration Comedy t pp. 224-43. 


boisterousness the height of wit. The same types had appeared 
in The Virtuoso thirteen years earlier, and in many other plays. 
An important aspect of the plot seems to have been borrowed 
directly from Moliere's Les femmes savantes. In this play, Belise, 
Philaminte, and the latter's daughter, Armande, are devoted to a 
"higher life" that makes the mundane, physical side of existence 
too coarse for their consideration. They despise Philaminte's hon- 
est bourgeois husband, Chrysale, and are contemptuous of his 
daughter, Henriette, for she is a common-sense woman who 
aspires to such unspiritual things as a husband, children, and 
household duties. All these figures have general counterparts in 
Shadwell's play. Much more unusual than a borrowing of plot 
elements from Moliere is the abandonment of the social norm 
of the conventional Restoration play. Bury Fair has no rakish 
hero; not even the ridiculed women, Lady Fantast and her daugh- 
ter, are placed in any questionable situations. Although Wildish 
seems to have entered the play with the past of the usual Res- 
toration gallant, he objects to the name of wit. Unlike Wycherley, 
who disliked the name because too many pretenders had assumed 
it, Wildish shows the beginning of his disgust with the loose life 
of the Restoration true-wit and his growing desire for an honor- 
able, common-sense existence. Lord Bellamy's praise of rural life 
and sober conduct is much further from the tone of the Res- 
toration comedy of manners and closer to the sentimental comedy 
of a later date. Gertrude, intelligently parrying Wildish's wooing 
until she believes he will be a worthy husband of a type she can 
trust, honor, and obey, brilliantly combines the mental agility 
of current wit with the good sense and decent morality of romantic 
comedy. This abandonment of Restoration social flippancy is 
central to the spirit of Bury Fair; such good sense is also central 
to Moliere* It would be too much to assert that the great dramatic 
trend toward morality which is attached to the name of Collier 
is due to the influence of the French dramatist acting through 


Shadwell, but there can be no doubt that Moliere's incidental 
adherence to the standard of the honnfoe homme of seventeenth- 
century France is contrary to the Restoration mode. There are 
evidences of such a point of view in some of ShadwelPs comedies 
before Bury Fair. In a way it is also implicit in his heritage from 
Jonson. The most natural inference would be that ShadwelPs ac- 
quaintance with Moliere reenforced his impulses to turn away 
from the norm of the Restoration comedy of manners and to 
produce a play with an attitude toward life much nearer the 
center of the great Frenchman's social attitude than a Restoration 
playwright had hitherto produced. 

In addition to this possible borrowing of spirit, Shadwell put 
into Bury Fair several minor borrowings of matter from Moliere 
that together constitute an important part of the play's excellence. 
Wildish's decision to foist off La Roch as Count de Cheveux is 
a very successful adaptation 88 of La Grange's hoax in Les 
Precieuses ridicules. This advantageous borrowing naturally sug- 
gests that Lady Fantast and her daughter would be imitated from 
Madelon and Cathos, but a careful examination of their affecta- 
tions will reveal that they are of essentially different fabric. Shad- 
well must have consciously rejected the type of Ics pr&ieuses in 
favor of figures more realistically allied to British follies. Thus 
he blended the empty idealism of Philaminte and Armande, of 
Les Femmes savantes, with British affectations toward a "higher 
life'* as he knew it, perhaps recalling the group about the Duchess 
of Newcastle, with which he had been extensively associated in 
his earlier years. In any case Lady Fantast and Mrs. Fantast 
are different from any other affected ladies of Restoration comedy 
and very similar to Moliere's learned ones. They have taken on a 
high-toned jargon of romantic compliments; for them love is a 

88 Only two years after, Langbaine said (Account of the English Dramatick Poets, 
p. 445) that Shadwell had improved Mohere. Borgman (Thomas Shadwell, p, 227) 
believes that "the episode in which the two Fantasts are rendered ridiculous by the 
barber-count is the best handled of any comic incident in Shadwell." 


platonic courtship; no idea is important to their minds unless it 
is expressed in ponderous polysyllables, preferably with Latin or 
Gallic sonority. 

This borrowing from Les Femmes sat/antes produced the rather 
definite resemblance of Gertrude to the sensible Henriette of 
Moliere's play. 39 Gertrude perhaps was also introduced for con- 
trast. Moliere did not invent, but he certainly exploited with 
conspicuous success the dramaturgic device of contrasts in char- 
acter types. In Bury Fair, this device is used, perhaps more exten- 
sively, more effectively, and more nearly in the manner of Moliere 
than in any other English play of the century. The intelligent, 
sober Lord Bellamy and the gradually reforming Mr. Wildish 
balance the silly old-fashioned wits, Sir Humphrey Noddy and 
Mr. Oldwit. Lady Fantast and Mrs. Fantast are similarly faced 
by the sincere Gertrude and romantic Philadelphia. Perhaps the 
antics of La Roch balance the follies of Trim, although, it must 
be admitted, in a different way. Here surely is an important 
influence, and a rare one, on dramatic form. 

The last play of ShadwelFs to contain a convincing parallel to 
Moliere is The Amorous Bigot, with the Second Part of Tegue 
O'Divelly (c. March, 1690). Produced in the closing days of his 
career, it is a potboiler of little merit. It contains, as Dr. Borgman 
says, 40 a great many tested dramatic devices from ShadwelPs own 
works and from others. Most of the alleged borrowings from 
Moliere are not convincing, 41 but the resemblance of the Belliza- 
Elvira relationship to a minor device in Uficole dcs marts, which 
had become common stock, is apparent. Like Sganarelle, Belliza 
keeps his daughter locked up. In both plays the imprisoned girl 
dupes the jailor into making essential communications to her 
lover. In both, the older man delivers proof of the younger one's 
love in equivocal words that the elder takes for acquiescence in 

39 Hememann, Shadwcll-Studien, pp. 69-72. 

40 Op at*, p. 235. 

41 Cf. Miles, op. cit. f p. 224 with Borgman, op. at., pp. 231-32. 


defeat. The incident is not important, and the debt is correspond- 
ingly slight. 

Shadwell produced fourteen comedies in all. Two of these, 
The Miser 42 and The Libertine, are successful adaptations of 
French plays, the first of which is Moliere's. The Sullen Lovers, 
Bury Fair, and The Amorous Bigot show positive use of his 
work. The other nine cannot be placed on the list of proved 
borrowings, although they contain vague resemblances called 
positive reminiscences by the credulous. Shadwell's best effort is 
not infrequently connected with Moliere. Primarily a son of 
Ben, or rather a grandson, Shadwell felt both literary impulses 
and political influences pulling him toward the common-sense 
standards of the middle class and away from the immoralities 
of the court of Charles. These influences would make him more 
sensitive to the decency and sobriety of the Frenchman. After 
Wycherley, he was the only Restoration playwright to be seriously 
touched by ideas from the Continent. Apparently under the in- 
spiration of Moliere, he set forth social ideas contrary to the Res- 
toration notions. Despite these influences Shadwell was sturdily 
British, and his best work is, viewed largely, a continuation of 
pre-Restoration English comedy. To this he brought a liberal 
admixture of carefully observed contemporary realism, which he 
learned from the example and precept of Jonson and his school. 
But Moliere's influence may also have been potent, for if we 
may judge by Bury Fair, Shadwell seems to have had a fuller 
understanding of Moliere's virtues than any of his countrymen 
except Wycherley; and it was possibly from Moliere that he 
derived in part the encouragement to turn away from Restora- 
tion standards and point, however feebly, toward the decency 
and morality found in the drama of sensibility. 

42 See Chap. Ill for a discussion of this play. 


BEFORE reaching the great names of Congreve, Farquhar, 
and Vanbrugh, with which Restoration comedy comes to 
a close, we must discuss the minor plays, no matter how dull 
or otherwise negligible, that contain borrowings from Moliere, 
and those that need refutory mention because they have been 
alleged to contain matter from him. They may well fall into 
chronological order, which we shall break only to the extent of 
completing the survey of one author before proceeding to the 
next. D'Avenant, Sedley, Ravenscroft, Crowne, Rawlins, Otway, 
Behn, Wright, and Penkethman will be considered in turn. 


It is a generally accepted fact that chronological priority in 
an adaptation of Moliere to the English stage goes to Sir William 
D'Avenant. Langbaine remarks about his The Playhouse to Be 
Let (c. August, 1663). 

I know not under what Species to place this Play, it consisting of 
several Pieces of different Kinds handsomely tackt together, several of 
which the Author writ in the Times of Oliver, and were acted sepa- 
rately by stealth; as the History of Sr, Francis Dra\c exprest by Instru- 
mental, and Vocal Musick, and by Art of Perspective in Scenes, etc. 
The Cruelty of the Spaniards in Peru. These two Pieces were first 
printed in quarto. They make the third and fourth Acts of this Play. 
The second Act consists of a French Farce, translated from Molhere's 
Sganarelle, ou Le Cocu Imaginaire, and purposely by our Author put 
into a sort of Jargon common to the French-men newly come over. The 


fifth Act consists of Tragedie travestie, or the Actions of Caesar Antony 
and Cleopatra in Verse Burlesque. 1 

Sganarelle 9 OH le cocu imaginaire is one of Moliere's early plays, 
a brilliant one-act farce of bourgeois life. It is built about the 
single plan of having the four chief characters quick to put the 
worst interpretation on what they see; each of the four allows 
his suspicions to create a separate instance of unfounded jeal- 
ousy. It is a marvel of construction, little marred by the wooden 
denouement, which ends on the simple moral that it does not 
pay to believe all one sees. D'Avenant's translation, which com- 
poses the second act of this miscellaneous program called The 
Playhouse to Be Let, follows the original, speech by speech, with 
excisions consistently made to reduce the length. This shortening 
allows the omission of Gros-Rene and the unnamed relative of 
Sganarelle; the action is naturally hurried. It ends with dances 
and an added song by Sganarelle. D'Avenant stressed the Frenchi- 
ness of his characters, a point that obliterated the significance 
of the original satire. Although he borrowed the matter of the 
act, none of the spirit or form can be ascribed to the source, and 
the version has no literary merit or traceable influence on later 
comedy. 2 

1 Account of the English Dramatic^ Poets, pp. 109-10. 

2 Gillet (Mohere en Angleterre, pp. 1-4) holds to the contrary. He maintains as his 
major assumption that humble translations and adaptations of Moliere, even though 
they debased the original, were the essential intermediaries for the importation to Eng- 
land of Mohcre's genius. The first decade of the Restoration is, he thinks, most im- 
portant, for it is the period of importation, in contrast with the succeeding periods of 
assimilation. This is obviously contrary to the criteria I developed in Chapter II. 

Gillet finds (op. at., pp. 28-29) that D'Avenant's Playhouse to Be Let originated the 
conventional dialect for the English theatre which we know as stage French, transmitting 
it first to Dufoy, of Etherege's first play. This is a debt to Moliere 1 He thanks that 
perhaps this gibberish was suggested by Mascarille of L'ttourdil Dr. Hickerson has 
since pointed out the existence of an English prototype for Dufoy. Le Fnske, of Shirley's 
The Ball (1632), is a dancing master with a lingo resembling Dufoy's. (See Hickerson, 
"Significance of Shirley's Realistic Plays," p. 304.) 

Gillet's inherent eagerness to give all possible credit to Moliere is revealed by his 
efforts to force the date of D'Avenant's play to a point after the presentation of 
Ulmpromptu de Versailles. Then he conjectures that D'Avenant was abroad to see this 
presentation, for the printing date is too late for his use. This enables him to believe 



The Mulberry Garden (May, 1668), Sir Charles Sedley's first 
play, opens with a scene clearly based on the exposition of L'ficole 
des marls. The resemblance was discussed above in Chapter II, 
and need not be repeated here. Sedley utilizes Moliere's intro- 
ductory action, but reduces it to a mere device for opening a 
typical Restoration intrigue. The first four pages of his play 
contain the sole evidence that the gay rake ever glanced at the 
French master, for he never returns to the source for anything. 
He made the characters genuine Englishmen of the last days of 
the Commonwealth, presenting them in a major action that ap- 
proaches tragicomedy. Interest can be taken in the play as an- 
other expression of the forming Restoration taste. In general the 
tone is reminiscent of pre-Restoration comedies like Brome's, but 
the plotting is closer to Shirley. Happily the denouement is made 
to coincide with the decision of General Monck to bring back 
Charles II. All the young people are clearly trying to be witty 
in their speech, and present an interesting example of witty dia- 
logue, in a prenuptial scene between Olivia and Wildish, which 
suggests but does not approach Congreve's. 8 Four romantic mar- 
riages and a satiric one close the play. 

Langbaine probably was true to Restoration taste in his judg- 

I dare not say, that the Character of Sir John Everyoung, and Sir 
Samuel Fore-cast, are copies of Sganarelle and Ariste, in Molliere's 
L'Escole des Marts; but I may say, that there is some Resemblance; tho' 
whoever understands both Languages, will readily, and with Justice 
give our English Wit the preference: and Sir Charles is not to learn to 
Copy Nature from the French* 

that the use of the bare stage, as a scene in the Playhouse, was copied from L'Impromptu 
and then passed on to Villiers* The Rehearsal. (See Gillet, op. cit., pp. 32-33). 

8 Works of Sedley, Pinto, ed., I, 177-79. 

4 Op at., p. 487. 


The nature Sir Charles copied is probably English, and the praise 
the play received (it was reprinted three times during Sedley's 
life) in Restoration times was due to Sedley's ability to maneuver 
his characters according to English traditions, not to what he 
borrowed from Moliere. 5 


An unusual knack for achieving theatrical success without 
solid merit seems to have been the good fortune of Edward 
Ravenscroft, the most facile and most shameless plagiarist of 
the period. Ranking with D'Urfey and Mrs. Behn for large quan- 
tity with no quality, he deserves study as a key to the theatrical 
taste he was successful in satisfying. He adapted Moliere freely 

5 Hickerson shows that there is a close resemblance in plot to She Would If She 
Could, although it leans toward Shirley more than it does toward Congreve (op. at., 
pp. 340-51). My opinion, given above, is substantially in accord with that of Sedley's 
chief student, V. de Sola Pinto (Sir Charles Sedley, pp. 249-67). Dr. Pinto, however, 
does not emphasize the fact that Sedley dropped L'Ecole des mans after the opening 

Sedley's method with a play more to the taste of his time is interestingly revealed in 
Bellamira, or the Mistress (May, 1687), an adaptation of the Eunuchus of Terence. Here 
the plot is taken over with considerable exactness, and many of the lines are a direct 
translation into the idiom of Restoration English. The characters are readily recognized 
in comparison with the Latin source. But a spectator or reader unacquainted with 
classical comedy would not look for any borrowing; the play has been too completely 
Anglicized m every detail to disturb the unsuspecting. All references to places, all re- 
flections of manners and morals, and the tone are Restoration. Only in Sedley's time 
would one find such mocking juxtaposition of ideas as 

"Lionel. Is she very handsome?" 

"Merryman. She is well." 

"Lionel* Not comparable to mine/* 

"Merryman. That's your fancy: Of Children, Mistresses and Religions our own are still 
the best." 

Act II, scene i (p. 31). Cf. Eunuchus, Act II, scene 5. 

Some of the wit and nearly all the interest developed out of situations are found in the 
original. To these, a great many witticisms of Restoration tone and a few new situations 
have been added. Verbal grossness takes it far below the level of Terence, but the play 
is a well-designed attempt to give the same sort of pleasure to a Drury Lane audience 
as Terence gave at the Megalensian Games more than eighteen centuries earlier. One is 
impelled to believe that Uficolc des mans would have been similarly treated, if Sedley 
had not been aware that its simple, logical plot and considerable moral seriousness were 
too far from the taste of Restoration England. 


and often. Six of his plays enter into the discussion; to wit: 
(i) Mamamouchi, or the Citizen Turned Gentleman; (2) The 
Careless Lovers; (3) The Wrangling Lovers, or the Invisible 
Mistress; (4) Scaramouch a Philosopher, etc.; (5) The London 
Cuckolds; and (6) The Canterbury Guests, or a Bargain Broken. 

(i) The amusing adaptation found in Mamamouchi, or the 
Citizen Turned Gentleman (July, 1672), while lacking the liter- 
ary merit of the original, successfully reproduces Moliere's theatri- 
cal skill in comedie-ballet and in farce. Almost too familiar to 
require description, Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme is a comedy of 
manners in the external guise of a musical extravaganza. The 
social ambition of the rich but gauche Philistine, M. Jourdain, 
is immortally satirized. Everyone recalls his attempts to direct 
musicians and dancers, his lessons in dancing and philosophy, 
his discovery that he talks prose, his costume so ridiculously fash- 
ionable that he is attended by two lackeys to keep bystanders 
from laughing at him, his furious quest for beauty, and his wild 
ambition to woo a marquise. M. Jourdain is constantly humored 
and mulcted by adherents willing to flatter his hopes with reas- 
surances. But it was left to middle-class Cleante, the suitor pre- 
ferred by sensible Mme. Jourdain and the Jourdain daughter, 
Lucile, to stage the greatest hoax of all and thus to overcome 
the paternal veto. The last two acts are filled with the vast show 
in which Cleante appears with a huge retinue as the son of the 
Grand Turk himself and beguiles consent from the entranced 
Jourdain, who is learning to jabber Turkish and disdaining a 
mere marquis. 

M. de Pourceaugnac, a farce ballet, though rich in situations 
giving amusement, is less unified in its satiric import, firaste may 
not marry Julie because her father, Oronte, has selected the un- 
known M. de Pourceaugnac, a pompous fool from distant 
Limoges, firaste's clever valet, Sbrigani, engineers successive in- 


trigues to gull the rural butt and unite the lovers. Said to be 
deranged, poor Pourceaugnac is forcibly treated with innumerable 
glisters. The doctor is sent to tell Oronte that the Limousin is not 
physically fit to become a husband. Sbrigani then tells Pourceau- 
gnac that Julie is a coquettish flirt of no reputation. Julie seconds 
this with a pretense of amorous enthusiasm for him after her 
father and her suitor are both eager to cancel the bargain. This 
scene is then interrupted by women who charge the luckless 
suitor with bigamy and produce a flock of children to chorus, 
"Papa." After numerous other struggles with his tormentors, the 
wretch escapes and Oronte is delighted to award Julie to firaste. 
In Mamamouchi these two plays of Moliere's are woven into 
a single play that retains most of the striking elements in the 
former, but leaves some of the amusing situations of the latter 
for future plundering. It would be a useless task to state all the 
tangled borrowings, for it would clear nothing. Some typical 
details will show how inextricably Ravenscroft jumbled the ma- 
terial and blended the characters. Jorden, the rich citizen with 
social ambitions, plays the role of Jourdain from Le Bourgeois 
Gentilhomme, but he is also Oronte in the episodes taken from 
M. de Pourceaugnac. Like Oronte he has no wife, and like Jour- 
dain, he woos a woman who is masquerading as a member of 
the nobility. Like both he wishes to choose his daughter's hus- 
band. Of course most of Moliere's fantastic satire of Jourdain 
disappears in the excitement. Sir Simon Softhead, a country 
knight, a conventional English stage character, is assigned the 
action of M. de Pourceaugnac when facing the intrigues of Lucia, 
Cleverwit, Trickmore and Cure-al; these latter also take the parts 
respectively of Julie, firaste, Sbrigani and the First Doctor in M. 
de Pourceaugnac. Lucia and Cleverwit are also Lucile and 
Cleonte. Young Jorden takes over the part of Dorante, the lover 
of Dorimene, whom Ravenscroft calls Marina; thus the son and 
the father are rivals. Miles first noted that this is a recollection 


of L'Avare: 6 Marina is a verbal echo of Marianna; Maitre Jaques, 
who is a teacher of French to Jorden and takes the place of the 
Maitre de Philosophic in informing him that he can speak 
prose, is the name of Harpagon's cook-coachman, whose silly 
pretense of a reconciliation also reappears/ Betty Trickmore uses 
a device or two of Frosine's. The elements from L'Avare are 
brought to the farcical level of the other material. The finale is 
the extravagant Turkish ballet from Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. 
By combining two plays, Ravenscroft loses much of the satiric 
force of both, and produces a remarkable program of action, bur- 
lesqued "humors," and extravaganza. Moliere furnished the strik- 
ing situations, the theatrical effectiveness of the details, and 
whatever originality remains in the characters. In this play 
Ravenscroft started a long career of totally uninspired adaptation 
of others' plays. Devoid of originality or style, he had a good 
sense for theatrical effects, and he copied with a conscienceless 
mendacity too unmoral for condemnation. His popular success 
was due to his feeling for stage values in the work of other men. 
By such endeavors Ravenscroft brought a great deal of the suc- 
cessful Moliere to England, but none of the man Boileau called 
"le contemplateur." 

(2) The Careless Lovers (March, 1673) shows Ravenscroft 
writing a play that is essentially Restoration English in its plot 
and manner. Lovewell, "a well-bred gentleman," loves Jacinta, 
the daughter of Muchworth, an old alderman. The father wishes 
her married into a higher class and has selected De Boastado, a 
silly fop with great pretensions to foreign travel. LovewelFs 
friend, Careless, is a Restoration rake who despises constancy. 
He soon falls in love with Hillaria, Muchworth's niece and ward, 
who is a female wit of great daring, especially in her conversa- 
tion. In fact she is a fully emancipated Restoration woman, ready 

6 Miles, Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, pp. 104-6. 

7 Cf. Mamamouchi, Act III, scene i, with L'Avare, Act IV, scene 4. 


even to enter a tavern dressed as a man and compete with her 
lover for the favor of street women. De Boastado is disposed of 
as a suitor by the trick in M. de Pourceaugnac? the production 
of alleged wives with children and the threat of execution for 
bigamy. By further trickery he is married to a waiting woman 
and takes her back to the country with him. Muchworth accepts 
Lovewell as a husband to his daughter, and Careless comes to 
terms with Hillaria in an amusing agreement, similar to Milla- 
mant and Mirabell's, though vulgar in word, adept in innuendo. 
The plot revolving about the stern father resembles that of M. de 
Pourceaugnac, but it has been common property too long for it 
to be credited to any source. The disguising of Lovewell's servant, 
Toby, to mock De Boastado's fantastic dress, 9 is a free imitation 
of Mascarille of Les Precieuses ridicules. Six pages of Act II are 
adapted, almost translated, from Lc Bourgeois Gentilhomme 
The beginning of Act V, with De Boastado disguised as a doctor, 
recalls Moliere's Le Medecin malgrc lui or U Amour medecin, 
but there is nothing demonstrably borrowed. Summing up, we 
find ten pages of the eighty-five borrowed from Moliere and three 
more imitated. 11 This is a low score for Ravenscroft. Rather than 
credit him with such unprecedented originality, we would suspect 
him of having stolen from his English predecessors and contem- 

(3) The Wrangling Lovers, or the Invisible Mistress (c. Sep- 
tember, 1676) is a brisk play in the style of the Spanish comedies 
of intrigue. It is full of disguises, jealousies, suspicions, mistaken 
identities, and swashbuckling quarrels. Two of the men finally 
win two of the ladies. Van Laun identifies some characters with 
some in Le Depit amour eux, but his only parallel passage is far- 

8 Act II, scenes 7 and 8. 

9 The Careless Lovers (London, 1673), Act IV (pp. 38-40). 

10 Act III, scenes 8-10. 

11 Langbame pointed out (op. ctt., p. 419) the copying of Af. de Pourceaugnac, Act 
II, scenes 7-8. Miles (op. cit., p. 226) added the imitation of Mascanlle. 


fetched. 12 Ward 13 and Charlanne 14 follow Van Laun. The fact 
is that both plots have a general resemblance which may be 
traced to the use of internationally conventionalized material, 
but there the similarity ends. Miles silently drops the attribution. 

(4) Scaramouch a Philosopher, Harlequin a Schoolboy, Bravo, 
Merchant, and Magician. A Comedy after the Italian Manner 
(May, 1677), is based on two of Moliere's farces, Les Fourberies 
de Scapin and Le Manage force. There is a certain low form of 
originality, however, in the thought of binding the two into 
one plot. Of course nearly all characterization disappears in such 
an amalgamation, and Moliere's revivification of Terence's an- 
cient Phormio suffers the usual mal de mer in crossing the Eng- 
lish Channel. The introduction of Harlequin and Scaramouch gives 
the printer the chance to put "after the Italian Manner" on the 
title page. But most of the matter of the plot came from Moliere. 

The combination of two of Moliere's characters, noted in the 
case of Mamamouchi, leads to even worse confusion here. 
Demipho and Chremes of Terence become Argante and Geronte 
with Moliere. They are Scaramouch and Pancrace with Ravens- 
croft, who also gives them the roles of Marphurius and Pancrace 
when material is taken from Le Manage force. Antipho of Ter- 
ence, Octave of Moliere, and Octave of Ravenscroft are identical, 

12 In Moli&re's play (Act I, scene 4) Mascanlle, servant to Valere, is accosted by 
Valere's nval, feraste, and Gros-Rene, and questioned about Lucile. Assured that firaste 
and Gros-Rene have given up the pursuit, Mascanlle reveals that Valere and Lucile are 
secretly married. (It develops later that Valere was really married to Ascagne disguised 
as Lucile.) Van Laun (Dramatic WorJ^s of Moliere , I, 183-86) quotes a scene from 
The Wrangling Lovers as "a fair sample of Ravenscroft paraphrasing Moliere." In this 
passage Orgdano, a clever servant, accosts Sanco, a stupid one, and induces the latter 
to betray the fact of his master's interview with Donna Elvira, while Don Diego, 
Orgdano's master, overhears the conversation. Van Laun is so "hypnotized with his 
unique source" that he declares "Gros-Rene betrays the secret of Lucile's marriage to 
feraste and Mascanlle" If true, this statement would improve a certain parallellism in 
characters, but Van Laun's own translation testifies that Gros-Rene did nothing of the 
sort. I cannot see any greater resemblance than would naturally occur in intrigues of 
lovers who have servants to help and to hinder. The resemblance is made visible only 
by the elimination of the dissimilar and by the distortion of what is left. 

13 Ward, English Dramatic Literature, III, 315 note. 

14 L'Influence jrangaise en Angleterre au xvii* sieclc, p. 266. 


but by a slight addition to the plot Ravenscroft's Octave pre- 
tends to be Alcidas, a friend of Alberto's, when Spitzaferro 
(Sganarelle) refuses to marry Aurelia (Dorimene in Le Manage 
force and Hyacinte in Les Fourberies). She and Zerbinetta, be- 
lieved gypsies in Les Fourberies, pretend to be gypsies in Scara- 
mouch, and act the part of the real gypsies in Le Manage. Most 
of the work of Scapin falls to Harlequin, but an added "man of 
intrigue," Plautino, relieves him of some. Three different pas- 
sages of a page or two are taken from fragments of Le Bourgeois 
Gentilhomme not used in Mamamouchi. Langbaine's contemp- 
tuous "I believe he cannot justly challenge any Part of a Scene as 
the Genuine Off-spring of his own Brain" 15 is essentially just, but 
there is a passage of four pages at the opening of Act III, in which 
Harlequin goes to school with children, that may be original. 16 

(5) In The London Cuckolds (November, 1681), Ravenscroft 
produced a scandalous success that had the honor of an annual 
staging on the Lord Mayor's day until 1752." Its tone harks back 
to the medieval fabliaux in its candor in dealing with sex; for its 
interest it depends upon a rapid succession of attempts of three 
wives to cuckold their husbands, for its surprises it relies upon 
unexpected returns, and for its humor it is content with the suc- 
cess of the illicit intrigues. The approved characters, the wives 
and their gallants, employ their wits solely in making assigna- 
tions; the feeble wit of the entire play is concentrated in the jibes 
which the deceived husbands hurl at each other. 

Langbaine, 18 Van Laun, 19 Ward, 20 and Miles 21 have discussed 

15 Op cit., p. 423. Langbaine mentioned the three plays used. Others have followed. 
Miles is fairly accurate in his mention of details. His ascription of Act IV to the influ- 
ence of M. dc Pourceaugnac (op. cit., pp. 103-7) is incredible. 

16 Bader ("Italian Commedia deir Arte in England," p. 141) describes this scene 
among the passages independent of Mohere, and then adds, "I have found no exact 
parallel for the school room incident, although the school teacher and the school room 
were not unknown in commedia dell' arte pieces." 

17 Nicoll, Restoration Drama, p. 244, 18 Op at., p. 421. 

19 "Les Plagiaires de Mohere en Angleterre," Le Uolieriste, II, 238. 

20 Op cit., HI, 451. 21 Op cit., p. 232. 


the "plagiarisms" from Moliere and others. The debt is not over- 
whelming. To dodge the proverbial horns, one of the citizens, 
Alderman Wiseacre, has elected, like Arnolphe (and this is his 
sole likeness), to marry an ignorant girl of fourteen. The three 
prospective cuckolds discuss their ideas as follows: 

Dash [well}. Then let me tell you for both your comforts, a wife that 
has wit will out-wit her husband, and she that has not wit will be out- 
witted by others beside her husband, and so 'tis an equal lay, which 
makes the husband a Cuckold first or oftenest. 

Wise [acre}. You are a married man, Mr. Dashwell, what course have 
you taken? 

Dood [le]. Ay, is yours wise or foolish? tell us that. 

Dash. Look you, the security lies not in the foolish wife, or in the 
wise, but ii\ the godly wife, one that prays and goes often to Church, 
mind you me, the religious godly wife, and such a one have I. 22 

In the end Ramble gets to the bride-bed ahead of the husband 
and teaches ignorant Peggy the "whole Duty of a wife." 23 Like 
Agnes in naivete, she tells her husband with candid joy: 

Wise. To do how? 

Peg. Nay but I can't tell you how, but I have learn'd a great deal of 
him, and if / were in Bed / could shew you. 

Wise. You are a Baggage. 

Peg. Indeed Uncle / had forgot you told me I must call you Hus- 
band, and now Uncle-Husband, it was ten times a better Duty than 
that you taught me. 

Wise. Very pleasant. 

Peg. Yes, yes, so pleasant I could do such duty all night long. 24 

The borrowing is indirect: Wycherley had used Moliere's L'ficole 
des femmes to suggest Pinchwife and Margery in The Country 
Wife. Ravenscrof t used the latter to arrive at such situations as the 
above, wholly unlike Moliere in spirit or form and obviously 
very different in matter. 

22 The London Cuckolds (Third Quarto, 1697), p. 4. 

23 Ibid., p. 57. 

pp. 63-64. 


(6) In the next to the last comedy of his long career, The Can- 
terbury Guests, or a Bargain Broken (September, 1694), Ravens- 
croft showed very little originality, as this is a dressing up of 
his own play, The Careless Lovers, staged twenty-one years earlier. 
No new borrowing from Moliere is found here, but the device 
used in the earlier play, the entry of deserted wives, is copied 
with the modification that, instead of bigamy, seduction with 
promise of marriage is charged. 

Much of the later play, including the names of six characters, 
was copied almost verbatim from the earlier; De Boastado, the 
"Conceited Lord and Traveller," was replaced by Sir Barnaby 
Buffler, "A Country Knight that affects to speak Proverbs." A 
gluttonous justice, a blunt sea captain, a sister of Lovell, two 
innkeepers, and a cook were added. All of these were fitted into 
the earlier dialogue and given characters that border on the tradi- 
tional "humors." Ravenscroft apparently admired the mediocre 
wit and sparkle of the merry war between Hillaria and Careless 
and the atmosphere of his other witty characters, for the major 
copying was in their scenes; he added the sea captain and LovelPs 
sister to increase this part of the action. We thereby see how fully 
the author agreed with his time in stressing the war between 
the sexes, on which much true comedy of manners turns. 

The career of Ravenscroft may now be summarized, for in 
his final comedy, The Anatomist, or the Sham Doctor (c. March, 
1697), he took nothing from Moliere. He was a shameless bor- 
rower of the Frenchman's plots in two of his nine comedies, 
Mamamouchi and Scaramouch; he produced nothing, however, 
but farce that lost the virtue of the source and failed from inca- 
pacity to earn any interest on the loan. In The Careless Lovers, 
despite its considerable borrowing of Moliere matter, in The Lon- 
don Cuckolds, and in The Canterbury Guests, Ravenscroft is es- 
sentially English in his point of view, method, and subject matter. 



John Crowne's The Country Wit (January, 1676), is a play 
compounded of English characters and English "humors" in an 
intrigue like many on the English stage, and obviously concocted 
for its wit and manners. Sir Thomas Rash, an impetuous, money- 
minded Londoner, has suddenly engaged his daughter Christina 
to marry a silly country knight, Sir Mannerly Shallow, entirely 
on the representation of the latter's aunt, Lady Faddle, an elderly, 
rich, affected yearner for amatory joys. Christina loves Ramble, 
a wild city rake, who loves her when he stops his pursuit of 
other women long enough to recall her image. At this time he 
is chasing Betty Frisque, the expensive wench of Lord Drybone, 
who pays high for his senile lack of pleasing ways. Sir Mannerly 
is an amusing dolt of amazing stupidity. He parades his country- 
learned manners, and, mistaking servants for gentlemen, marries 
a porter's daughter. His servant loses the purse and acquires an 
unknown bastard to support all on their first day in London. 
Ramble follows the cleared track to the willing hand of Christina. 
His man Merry weds Lady Faddle for her fortune. One episode 
in Ramble's chase of Betty Frisque includes a clear adaptation 
from the plot of Le Sicilien, ou I'amour pcintrc; a serenading 
in Act II also leads to a confusion of identity similar to that in 
scenes 3 and 4 of the same play, so that some eight or ten pages 
in a hundred owe their general character to Moliere. 25 

Crowne's play was popular with the king and the court. Its 
merits were the merits of the other applauded plays of the time, 
wit, realism, and ridicule of the socially unfit. The satire on out- 

25 Van Laun says "lady Faddle et sir Mannerly Shallow . . . me semblent des reminis- 
cences de la Comtcssc d'Escarbagnas et de M. de Pourceaugnac, tandis que les scenes 
entre Ramble (Adraste) et Merry (Hah) sont basees sur quelques scenes $ Amphitryon" 
("Les Plagiaires de Moliere en Angleterre," Le Moheristc, III, 58-59). Miles says (pp. 
ctt., p. 228) "The main plot was suggested by Le Tartuffe," and "Lady Faddle was sug- 
gested by the Comtesse d'Escarbagnas . . . and by Belise [of Les Femmes sat/antes]" 
None of these is more than such a slight resemblance as a microscopic examination 
reveals between almost any two works. 


moded compliments, the rakish hero who could turn from senti- 
ment to raging sensuality in a short soliloquy, or the jibes at 
critics in the mouth of Sir Mannerly such things as these brought 
the play popularity. Thus we can see that Crowne's center was 
far from Moliere's, even the unimportant center of the comedie- 
bdlet, U Amour peintre. Like many others, Crowne took some 
things that belonged to Moliere's theatrical skill. All this is mar- 
ginal to Crowne's matter, the essence of which is Restoration 
taste and manners. 

In Sir Courtly Nice, or It Cannot Be (May, 1685), John Crowne 
utilized a Spanish plot, Moreto's No pued esser, selected, as he 
explained himself, by Charles II. This became the basis of an 
English comedy in the general tone of the Restoration. Sir Courtly 
is an interesting and original English fop whose "humor" for 
physical cleanliness is developed very fully and amusingly. Sir 
Courtly uses a translation of the song, "Au Voleur," which Mas- 
carille sang in Les Prtcieuses ridicules?* Crowne gives a few 

26 The Maidment and Logan edition of Crowne's works (III, 251) repeats the error 
first made by [Charles Gildon], Lives and Characters of the English Dramatic^ Poets 
[1698 or 1699], p. 30, with the statement, "The song of 'Stop Thief is taken out of 
Flecknoe's Demoiselle a la Mode, who in turn had it from the French of Mohere." 
Moliere's version is as follows: 

Oh, oh! ]e n'y prenois pas garde: 
Tandis que, sans songer a mal, je vous regarde, 
Votre oeil en tapinois me derobe mon coeur. 
Au voleur, au voleur, au voleur, au voleur! 

Les Precieuses ridicules, scene 9. 

Flecknoe rendered it as follows: 

Ah, ha! and have I caught you (as they say, 
Mos did his Mare) stealing my heart away. 
And wo'd you run away with* t when y* havedon; 
rfaith, i'aith, for all you'd fain be gone, 
Tie make you dearly pay for't e're you part; 
Stop Thief, Stop Thief, my heart, my heart, my heart. 
The Damoisettes a la Mode, Act III, scene 3 (p. 59). 

Crowne went back to the original for this version: 

Your cruel eye, 
Lay watching by 
To snap my heart, 


other indications that he had Mascarille in mind. The plays are 
not otherwise alike, and the characters of Mascarille and Sir 
Courtly resemble each other at very few points. The merit of 
Crowne's play is in the characters: Sir Courtly; a Cavalier Hot- 
Head; Testimony, a hypocritical Puritan; and outspoken Surly. 
All these fit well into the English background and have no pro- 
totypes in Moliere. 

The exact relation, however, of The English Friar, or the Town 
Spares (c. March, 1690) to the works of Moliere is very difficult 
to demonstrate; perhaps it is beyond us entirely. It seems best 
then to determine the range of possibilities and to accept every- 
thing within those limits as a possible explanation. Van Laun 
said that "le personnage principal, le pere Tinical [misprint for 
Finical] (Affete) est imite de Tartufife." 27 Finical and Tartuife 
are hypocritical, lecherous, grasping manipulators of the devout. 
Crowne must have known Le Tartufic long before he wrote his 
play. Does this mean that The English Friar is an adaptation 
of Tartuffe, as Miles sometimes thinks, but hesitates to assert too 
positively? 28 Crowne might have started to give the theatre of 
William and Mary's time a picture of the politico-religious in- 
trigues of the recently ended Jacobean reign. Such a character as 
Finical might have come to Crowne's mind from personal ob- 
servation or have been constructed from current notions, for, after 
all, the charges of lubricity, greed, hypocrisy, and political 
manipulation are perennial allegations against all racial or reli- 

Which you did wi' such art, 
That away w'lt you ran, 
Whilst I look'd on, 
To my ruin and gnef 
Stop thief stop thief' 

Works, IH, 340. 

2T "Les Plagiaires de Moliere en Angleterre," Le Mohcriste, HI, 60. In Dramatic 
Worlds of Mohere > t IV, 121, he says Crowne put some of TartunVs words into Finical's 
mouth in the closing scene. I can find only vaguely similar arguments, which might 
naturally arise from the situation. 

28 Contrast his statement, op. cit., p. 95, with pp. 131, 158, 229. 


gious opponents, Protestant against Catholic, Cavalier against 
Puritan, or anti-Semites against Jews. On the other hand know- 
ing Moliere and wanting to satirize Catholicism, Crowne may 
have started from Tartufle and then altered the plot and char- 
acter until he arrived at The English Friar. These two possibilities 
are the farthest apart: (i) that all likenesses are accidental, or 
(2) that all differences are intentional The play is not very close to 
Le Tartuffe in spirit, plot, method, or characters. Aside from the 
naturally similar use of concealed witnesses of an attempted se- 
duction, and aside from the less ordinary but not unnatural solici- 
tude of the duped for the health of the hypocrite, there appears 
to be little duplication of plot elements. The possibility of some 
indebtedness cannot be denied, however, for The English Friar 
may be an adaptation of Le Tartuffe; but in that case the altera- 
tions are very complete, enough to give it a place as an inde- 
pendent play. Between the two limits mentioned above is the 
more probable hypothesis that the play started independently and 
that during its development reminiscences of Moliere's play were 
incorporated. A similarity to TJAvare has been pointed out by 
Miles, the likeness of Lady Pinchgut and Harpagon. 29 Comic 
miserliness would always have certain common qualities, it would 
seem, and none of the details here is sufficiently peculiar to be 

A passage in Crowne's later play, The Married Beau, or the 
Curious Impertinent (c. January, 1694), ' 1S vaguely similar to 
the scene in Les Precieuses ridicules from which Mascarille's song 
"Au Voleur" emerged. This similarity has been ascribed to 
Moliere's influence on Crowne, 30 but the evidence is not suffi- 
cient for one to report any probability of a borrowing. 

In summary, Crowne, who is in about the third class among the 
writers of Restoration comedy, drew a little from Moliere in 
two or three of his comedies; there is, of course, one positive 

-*lbid. t pp. 158-59, 229. 30 Miles, ibid , p 233 


adaptation in The Country Wit assayed above, in which the 
Frenchman's action was used to enliven the action of a subplot 
of the usual British sort. The method of approaching the plot of 
The English Friar was probably developed under the influence 
of Le Tartuffe. On the whole, Moliere was not formative to 
Crowne's original work; his method and spirit did not reach 
England through Crowne's acquaintance with him. 


Matter from Moliere is certainly found in Tom Essence, or 
the Modish Wife (c. September, 1676) by Thomas Rawlins. This 
is a humble specimen of the comedy of intrigue with a feeble 
touch of Jonsonian "humors." The ending, with its reconcilia- 
tions, reforms, and readjustments, distinctly recalls the older emo- 
tional attitudes or anticipates the later sentimental comedy, 
according to how one wishes to view it. The major plot turns 
about the desire of Mrs. Theodosia to marry the honorable Mr. 
Courtly against the opposition of her father, a miserly dotard, 
and her stepmother, a scheming young woman who has married 
her father for his money. The low comedy element comes from 
a milliner, Tom Essence, and his wife, who are conventional 
"humors." The first two, Mrs. Theodosia and Mr. Courtly, go 
through those actions of Sganarelle, ou le cocu irnaginaire that 
relate to the exchange of portraits and the resultant misunder- 
standings. Allardyce Nicoll is perhaps too generous in saying 
that at least half the plot comes from Moliere, 31 but the borrow- 
ing is an integral part of the matter. The play depends largely 
upon disguises and upon mistakes of identity in the darkness, 
which seem to be reminiscent of Moliere, but may have come 
from many other sources. Miles thinks Davenant's translation of 
Sganarelle was the basis. 32 It really does not matter: Rawlins 
was not a man of any importance in comedy; he did not use 

^Restoration Drama, p* 204. 32 Op ctt t p. 239. 


Moliere in his later Tunbridge Wells, or a Day's Courtship 
(c. March, 1678). The question has therefore no significance in 
dramatic history. 


Because of genuine tenderness and undoubted poetic excellence 
in his tragedies, Thomas Otway arrests the attention of the reader 
more emphatically than his comedies deserve. Among these minor 
plays is an effort to Anglicize Les Fourberies de Scapin. Late 
in his career Moliere had reverted to his early style and com- 
pounded another intrigue from his capacious memory of classi- 
cal comedy and commedia dell 3 arte. Two young men are re- 
quired by their exigent and miserly fathers to marry girls they 
have never seen. One has secretly married the daughter of a ship- 
wrecked widow and the other has wedded in like secrecy a 
supposed gypsy girl. The valets try to help out, particularly 
Scapin. They dupe the fathers with stories of kidnapings, and 
then collect the ransom while in disguise. Complications follow 
furiously, with Scapin more eager to play clever tricks than to 
win consent. Scapin even gets his master's father to hide in a 
sack, where he beats him unmercifully in a feigned fight with 
ruffians. In the end the gypsy and the daughter of the widow 
are found to be the very girls the boys were supposed to marry. 
The play closes with a feast after Scapin tricks them once more 
into forgiving him. Much of the comedy is in the details, hag- 
gling over the amount of ransom and the like. Characterization 
is nil. 

Otway's The Cheats of Scapin (December, 1676) is a transla- 
tion and adaptation of Les Fourberies with all the changes needed 
to adjust the plot and characters to a nominally British scene at 
Dover. In this Otway proved a competent workman. He made 
no attempt to complicate the action, but on the contrary removed 
a few incidents entirely. It is the most creditable translation 


Moliere had yet had. Unfortunately the play was originally too 
trifling, no matter how admirably presented, to bring much of 
the great Moliere to England. It adds to the list of farces based 
on the French source and probably added to the impression, 
already strong, that Moliere was a clever man of the theatre. 
Otway wrote three more comedies, friendship in Fashion (April, 
1678), The Soldier's Fortune (March, 1680), and The Atheist, 
or the Second Part of the Soldier's Fortune (c. September, 1683). 
Of these The Soldier's Fortune is the only one making unmis- 
takable use of Moliere. It contains another version of the episode 
of the duped messenger found in Uficole des maris. Here the 
idea is expanded to an important part of the plot, for the husband 
becomes the stupid bearer of a verbal message, then of a letter, 
and finally of a ring from his wife to the man who is cuckolding 
him. The device is found in early Italian novelle, but came to 
Otway from Moliere, 83 for there are several closely similar de- 
tails, including some verbal resemblances. Some students have 
thought that scene 9 of Sganarelle, ou le cocu imaginaire has been 
used also. It would be more accurate to note that in his L'ficolc 
des mans Moliere repeated an effective device he had already 
used in Sganarelle. The amusement derived from this material is 
applied to a totally different story by Otway, the actual cuckold- 
ing of a stupid husband by a wife who has been married against 
her will. An astoundingly obscene old knight, Sir Jolly Jumble, 
serves as an enthusiastic amateur procurer, the word amateur 
being applicable in either sense. Moliere provided Otway with 
the laughable situations mentioned above, nothing more. The 
tone, purpose, plot, and characters are totally foreign to Moliere, 
but familiar to readers of Restoration plays. The sequel to The 
Soldier's Fortune, The Atheist, depends on Moliere for nothing, 

33 Gildon first noted this borrowing. Van Laun overstates the case in calling it a free 
translation. Miles adds that Fourbm was Scapin, from Lcs Fourbenes de Scapin. There 
is no similarity except that both are intriguing servants and that the word Fourbin 
seems to recall jourbcrics, which cannot matter. 


except that two slight similarities might have been borrowed. 34 
On the whole, the career of Otway as a comic dramatist puts 
him clearly on a level below Dryden and Shadwell, more nearly 
with Mrs. Behn. His close adaptation of Lcs Fourbenes de Scapin 
evidently did not affect his later dramatic form, for he seems to 
have learned nothing of technique through this contact. What 
little he picked up after the major venture fell back into the class 
of petty borrowings of unimportant tricks of plotting. He always 
treated Moliere as a mere occasional source of theatrical skill in 


Mrs. Aphra Behn used material from Moliere in two of the 
fourteen comedies that came from her pen between 1670 and 
16963 but she did not depend on Moliere at the start. She turned 
to him, apparently, as a ready source of material for her cus- 
tomary combination of a bristling intrigue with dissolute man- 
ners. When she rose at all above the rank of a pandaress to the 
taste for indecency, it was merely into the level of "uncommon 
ingenuity in the contrivance of stage-situations." 35 

An inveterate borrower 36 of material, she made Sir Patient 
Fancy (January, 1678) a very interesting example of the manu- 
facture of an amusing, thoroughly British farce from one of 
Moliere's great comedies of character. In "To the Reader," the 
author said, 

Others to show their breeding (as Bays sayes) cryed it was made out 
of at least four French plays, when I had but a bare hint from one, the 
Malad Imagenere, [sic!] which was given me translated by a Gentle- 
man infinitely to advantage; but how much of the French is in this, I 

34 Miles says (op, ciL, p. 225) "The conduct of Porcia is a reminiscence o Utcolc 
des famines, probably through The Country Wife. The recital by Beaugard's father of 
his hard luck at dice (act lii, p. 42) is an alteration of Les Fdcheux ii, 2." Neither 
identification is convincing. 

35 Ward, op. at., 111,453* 

36 Sec Langbaine, op. cit. t pp. 17-18. 


leave to those who do indeed understand it and have seen it at the 

Le Malade imaginaire, from which she got the "bare hint," 
Moliere's great satire on the typical hypochondriac, with its amus- 
ing reiteration of his contempt for physicians, she stripped of 
satiric import, and thus secured a skeleton for an English farce 
of gay cuckoldry and amorous intrigue. The common frame- 
work is as follows: An elderly man, Sir Patient (Argan), has 
enjoyed bad health and worse medicine for years. He has recently 
married a young woman (Beline), who pretends a great love 
but feels none. He tries to force his daughter Isabella (An- 
gelique), to marry a silly man, Sir Credulous Easy (Thomas 
Diafoirus), although she loves Lodwick Knowell (Cleante). Isa- 
bella has a young sister Fanny (Louison). Sir Patient (Argan) 
is finally induced to test the love of his wife and his daughter 
by pretending to die. The daughter is found loyal and the wife 
appears heartless in her selfishness. Thus he is disillusioned. 

Mrs. Behn's play differs from Moliere's, because she has put 
an entirely different sort of flesh and blood on these bones. Sir 
Patient is not Argan; he is a testy, rich, cuckolded alderman 
with a "humor" for being ill; his imaginary illness is a device of 
the author to produce surprise turns in the farcical plot. Beline 
fools Argan for his money, for which she married him; Lady 
Fancy married Sir Patient in order to finance her amour with 
her gallant. Isabella and Lodwick are the usual Restoration lov- 
ers. To them Mrs. Behn added the customary second pair of 
lovers; although they do not show much verbal brilliance, the 
four represent the social norm of the Restoration stage, zealous, 
but not overvirtuous, lovers. Instead of a French blockhead like 
Thomas Diafoirus, Isabella's unwelcome suitor, Sir Credulous 
Easy, is a British type, the rural knight whom the others know 
how to gull. Some critics 37 trace him to M. de Pourceaugnac. 

37 E.g., Summers, ed., Works of Aphra Bchn, IV, 4-5. 


Langbaine traces him to "Sr. Amphilus the Cornish Knight, and 
his Man Trebasco in Brome's Play called The Damoiselle"** 
but the type has appeared so many times in English plays and 
with so many slight variations that no specific source for the stock 
figure is plausible. Certainly we need not go to France for a 
vaguely similar character. 

Mrs. Behn's audacious invention of Fanny, a skilled bawd at 
the age of seven, is shocking and revelatory of existing taste. 
Fanny and Isabella are in the garden at night. 

Isab. Well, I have no mind to let this dear mad Devil Lodmcf^ in to 

Fan. Why, Sister, this is not the first Venture you have made of this 
kind, at this Hour, and in this Place; these Arbours were they tell- 
tales, cou'd discover many pretty stories of your Loves, and do you 
think they'll be less faithful now? pray trust them once again. Oh, I do 
so love to hear Mr. Lodwlc\ protest, and vow, and swear, and dis- 
semble, and when you don't believe him, rail at you, avads, 'tis the 
prettiest Man 

Isab. I have a strange apprehension of being surpriz'd to night. 

Fan. Fll warrant you, I'll sit on yon Bank of Pinks, and when I hear 
a Noise 1*11 come and tell you; so Lodu/ic^ may slip out at the back 
Gate, and we may be walking up and down as if we meant no harm. 

Isab. You'll grow very expert in the Arts of Love, Fanny. 

Fan. When I am big enough I shall do my Endeavour, for I have 
heard you say, Women were born to no other end than to love: And 
'tis fit I should learn to live and die in my calling. Come, open the 
Gate^ or you'll repent it. 89 

Thus Moliere's innocent Louison is corrupted to fit Restoration 

The close of the play is another indication of the wide gulf 
between Sir Patient Fancy and Le Malade imaginaire. Moliere 
was too wise to believe Argan could be reformed. Instead the 
great satirist boldly burlesques the medical faculties in a ballet 

38 op dt., p. 21. 

89 Act HI, scene 5 (Wor\s, IV, 51-52). 


ritual, in which Argan is made his own physician as a consola- 
tion for the loss of a son-in-law trained in medicine. This gives 
the end a fantastic inconclusiveness which assumes that men are 
not subject to genuine conversion from their innate follies. Mrs. 
Behn is not so sincere. After Lady Fancy and Wittmore announce 
their immoral intentions, Sir Patient says, in closing the play: 

I forgive it you, and will turn Spark, they live the merriest Lives- 
keep some City Mistress, go to Court, and hate all Conventicles. 

You see what a fine City-Wife can do 
Of the true-breed; instruct her Husband too: 
I wish all civil Cuckolds in the Nation 
Would tat(e example by my Reformation. 

Thus the traditional close of Ben Jonson reappears with morality 
inverted. Into the plot Mrs. Behn put another character, Lady 
Knowell, mother to Lodwick and Lucretia, an affected and amo- 
rous widow, who is amusing in her contempt for other than 
learned tongues and polysyllabic expression. She might have- been 
recalled from Belise, of Les Femmes savantes, but the imitation 
is very slight. 40 A medical consultation is also vaguely similar to 
a consultation in L* Amour medecin. Both of these are probable 
but not certain borrowings. 

As vulgar farce of amorous assignations and lovers dodging 
under beds and behind curtains, the play is amusing and fitted 
to its time. The borrowing from Moliere is initial to much of 
this matter; but those elements selected from the original material 
were far from central to the art of the great playwright. 

In a later comedy, The False Count, or a New Way to Play 
an Old Game (c. September, 1682), Mrs. Behn turned to Moliere 
for the second and last time and found in Les Precieuses ridicules 
some useful material. Wishing to make fun of a young lady, 
Isabella, who is comic in her belief in her excessive social im- 
portance, she recalled Moliere's pretentious young ladies, and gave 

40 Summers (op. cit. t IV 4 4-5) is very positive in this ascription. 


her, for a lover and husband, Guiliom, a chimney sweeper dis- 
guised as a nobleman. The hoax is worked up by other characters, 
as a punishment for her snobbishness. While too many likenesses 
exist for one to believe the similarity accidental, there is no close 
copying. Isabella is a social snob, not a precieuse. Guiliom is a gay 
chimney sweep who enjoys his efforts at impersonation and has 
no such belief in his own social prowess as made Mascarille and 
Jodelet butts as well as tools of their master. Isabella is forced 
at the end to keep her husband and help him to be a false count. 
Moliere's famous characters suggest some of the outlines of 
Guiliom, but his development is reasonably independent. 

In all, Mrs. Behn wrote fourteen comedies between 1670 and 
1696. None has any distinction on its own account, and none 
contributed anything to the development of the Restoration com- 
edy of manners. The sole merit for the modern reader is their 
indication of the taste of a time that found them worth applaud- 
ing. As we have already indicated, Moliere was used in two of 
the plays, in one formatively, but without artistic insight. 


In The Female Vertuosoes (April, 1693), Thomas Wright, Bet- 
terton's experienced assistant in the handling of stage machinery, 
brought out his own play 3 an adaptation of Les Femmes savantes. 
In his dedication Wright said, 

... the Design of which, as it was drawn some Years ago from the 
great Original of French Comedy, by an Ingenious Friend of mine, 
who bears now too serious a Character in the World, not to reckon 
such a Trifle among his Delicta JuventuUs, was last Winter, by my 
Importunities, extorted from him. 

Wright made a free paraphrase of his source, adapting the 
names of characters and their spirit to the English scene and to 
the customary vulgarities of the Restoration stage, but the char- 


acters are very clearly recognizable. In general, the high comedy 
comes down to the level of farce, as it might have done in the 
hands of Mrs. Behn, but the satire of Philaminte, Armande, and 
Belise as Lady Meanwell, Lovewitt, and Catchat, is still rather 
forceful. To this leading plot Wright added a low-comedy in- 
trigue that centers in the perennial country gull, who arrives in 
the play as the suitor of Mariana, favored by her mother to re- 
place Clerimont. This is not an inappropriate addition to Moliere's 
plot. The style is idiomatic and occasionally spirited, but it lacks 
the wit to make the play important. 

After Wright secured the translation of Les Femmes savantes, 
he incorporated some very amusing speeches from Le Mdade 
imaginaire, perhaps from a manuscript translation such as Mrs. 
Behn used in writing Sir Patient Fancy sixteen years earlier, 41 
as his "Importunities" would not have been so persistent if he 
could have handled the original. In Moliere's comedy, Thomas 
Diafoirus comes to woo Angelique, Argan's daughter. 42 An aca- 
demic fool, young Diafoirus discharges carefully memorized 
speeches of extravagant compliments and sonorous platitudes. 
These and some of the linking conversation are closely translated 
in the wooing of the gull, Timothy Witless, 43 who has studied 
at Cambridge and is a scholastic type of ass. A similarity to the 
familiar trick in M. de Pourceaugnac occurs: 44 a troublesome 
suitor is driven away by the return of his supposedly abandoned 
woman. This device has been too frequently copied for one to 
assert a direct debt when an indirect source would be more 
plausible. For long a frequenter of the theatres where he gained 
his livelihood, Wright would be more likely to use material he 
had seen on the boards than to depend on reading for his theatri- 
cal effects. Several clever turns of action, vaguely reminiscent of 
something in Moliere, are probably the results of such a diffusion 

41 See above, p. 146-47. 42 Act II, scenes 5 and 6. 

Act II. "Act V (p. 44). 


of matter. The parallels cannot be set down as positive borrow- 
ings, however, for the similarities are all conventionalized. 45 


Love without Interest, or the Man too Hard For the Master 
(1699), is by William Penkethman, a comic actor, who gives us 
a farcical Restoration play without success, merit, or novelty. The 
general action is reminiscent of dozens of previous plays, and 
the tone and spirit have not advanced a bit beyond the products 
of the early Ravenscroft. It attracts attention here because the 
author availed himself of comic incidents from Le Manage force; 
they did not come from the version found in Ravenscroft's Scara- 

Wildman, the traditional spark, has tired of his punk, Eugenia, 
and mortgaged his inheritance to Sir Fickle Cheat, a grasping, 
amorous citizen. He decides to woo Sir Pickle's niece Letitia and 
to "top" Eugenia on the old man. Letitia tries to be a witty 
woman. Her sister, Honoraria, and Truelove have a romantic 
wooing that is so filled with fustian as to be burlesque, perhaps 
at the author's intention. Jonathan, acted by Penkethman, is Sir 
Pickle's faithless servant and prime mover of the intrigue. When 
his master foolishly entrusts him with the chest of valuable papers, 
including Wildman's mortgage and the tides to the property 
Sir Fickle has withheld from his nieces, Jonathan sells out to the 
youngsters, and the old man is trapped. When he seeks advice 46 
of Wrangle and Sobersides, the action follows scenes 4 and 5 of 
Le Manage jorc6, in a free adaptation. A little later 47 the man 
is forced to accept Eugenia in a scene resembling in general con- 
ception scene 9 of Moliere's little comedy. The insignificance 
of the play and of the author brings the value of this rather lim- 
ited borrowing of comic matter close to the vanishing point. 

45 Miles (op. cit. t pp. 230-31) lists these parallels as borrowings. 
* 6 Act IV, scene 2. Act V, scene i. 



A summary of Moliere's relation to the foregoing authors may 
be very brief. Not even those followers of Moliere's influence in 
England who idolatrously credit him with creating such assets 
as high comedy, realism, vivid repartee, and character portrayal 
care to debit him with such conspicuously bad comedy as this. 48 
But, as a matter of fact, I think it is clear that the minor bor- 
rowers treated Moliere as did their greater confreres. They lacked 
respect for his views on life and did not admire his dramaturgic 
technique. They took from him what they could make incidental 
to their own conventional Restoration views and adapt to their 
traditional British methods of building plays. They complacently 
believed their work could not be improved by imitating a mere 
French comedian. 

48 For example, Miles, op. cit. f pp. 98-99, says, "The minor playwrights of the 
Restoration seldom recognized the greatness of the Frenchman's genius. . . . The 
modern estimate of Moherc as not only the greatest comic dramatist of France but as 
one of the few comic geniuses of the world, would have seemed to them the veriest 


ALMOST two decades elapsed between Etherege and the next 
comic genius; 1 but after the comedy of manners emerged 
from this period of mediocrity, in little more than a decade it 
rose to its perfect example in Congreve, receded in Vanbrugh 
and Farquhar, and then fell before the onslaughts of sensibility 
and shifting standards of morality. An entire account of this final 
outburst of comic excellence is beyond the scope of the present 
study, for the discussion of these men must be limited to their 
relation to Moliere, inadequate as such treatment is from the 
broader view of dramatic history. 


"It would be interesting/* says the late Sir Edmund Gosse, "to 
know how far, in making this advance [i.e., an advance beyond 
Wycherley in the distinction of characters], Congreve had wit- 
tingly gone to school with Moliere." 2 The question may be wid- 
ened a little. How far did he go to school with Moliere, wittingly 
or unwittingly? How different would his comedies of manners 
have been if Moliere had never lived? The answer should be 
reached by comparing the characteristics of Congreve's comedies 
with all possible origins, not by considering only the resemblances 
to the Frenchman. 

Appearing eighteen years after the death of Charles II, The 

^Thorndike (English Comedy, p. 341) names nine "perfect specimens of the comedy 
of manners," none of them between The Man of Mode (March, 1676) and The Double 
Dealer (October, 1693)* 2 Gosse, Life of Congreve, rev. ed, p. 30. 


Old Bachelor (January, 1693) * s a typical Restoration comedy, 
perhaps the most representative specimen of the genre which 
found support and acclaim in that earlier period. Young Con- 
greve 3 produced a suave synthesis of dramatic, stereotypes. The 
material is a clever pastiche of what one finds in such writers as 
Sedley, Dryden, Behn, Crowne, Shadwell, and even Ravenscroft. 
The story hinges on the dilemma of Heartwell, the "old bach- 
elor," who shudders at the thought of marriage and yet must 
satisfy his sudden desire for a certain wench; she stubbornly 
demands a husband. HeartwelPs gay friend, Bellmour, is playing 
with a jealous old citizen's willing young wife. The cuckold 
catches him in his wife's bed and is still fool enough to allow 
the guilty lovers to talk him into believing her innocent. In this 
gallant affair Bellmour's disguise as a parson is essential, As he 
emerges, he encounters his friend Heartwell and performs a cere- 
mony whose invalidity is saved for the denouement. Though 
Bellmour and another friend, Vainlove, are wild gallants lightly 
enjoying every female that blooms beside their path, two spirited 
maids succeed in luring them into the legal rites necessary to 
the ladies' social standing. A rural knight is gulled by boastful 
Captain Bluflfe and tricked into marriage to the mistress who al- 
most captured the old bachelor. The incidents are thus seen to 
be standard; innumerable English plays of the seventeenth cen- 
tury, for example, have developed a surprise ending with some 
version of ..the. -hoax marriage._Thc characters include no new 
types and no new "humors." The scenes are all familiar, the 
street, gentlemen's lodgings, St. James Park, or a city wife's bed- 
chamber. Here, if ever, is the Utopia of gallantry: life is free of 
scrupks, sen sna 1 .pleasures dp not pall, past sins do not hauntTanct" 
the future offers no fears. 
While the style of the play is competent and even, it does not 

3 Congrevc was twenty-three years old when the play was staged. He says in the 
dedication that it had been composed almost four years earlier. 


approach Etherege's and hardly forecasts The Way of the World. 
It too seems to be a synthesis from earlier comic styles. There 
is little mark of genius, for example, in the similitudes which 
shower from almost all the characters. Sedley, Crowne, Dryden, 
or the early Wycherley could and did surpass Bellmour's sally 
at HeartwelPs dilemma, "Ha, ha, how a 5 struggled, like an old 
lawyer between two fees," or they could easily match Vainlove's 
additional simile, "Or [like] a young wench, between pleasure 
and reputation." Gay Araminta is permitted to cap a scene with 
the banal "no; rather, courtship to marriage, as a witty prologue 
to a very dull play." After Heartwell knows he has been rescued 
from the clutches of matrimony, the play closes with four gallants 
all laughing, 

HeartwelL and when I wed again, may she be^ ugly, as an old 

Vainlove. Ill-natur'd, as an old maid 
Bellmour. Wanton as a young widow 
Sharper. And jealous as a barren wife. 

Congreve could not derive this resemblance to early plays from 
a fresh observation of current life, for 1693 was actually far away 
from 1660. Here are the old Restoration contgmptjior romantic 
love and the familiar preference for an unmoral and casual in- 
dulgence in thc^ sex relation in which .tics of _a.ffe.ction have no 
place. Jiere the pursuit of women is the normal .activity of a wit 

c sex 

o. be a^^cpme 
a joyous past and a.gbomy-iiitiKe^Obviously the author has 
assimilated the comic tradition of England and reproduced its 
matter and manner without significant change. Congreve has 
gone to school with a vengeance, but not with Moliere. 

In the interval between The Old Bachelor and The Double 
Dealer (October, 1693) Congreve made a great advance in lit- 
erary style. In his second play he revealed much of that brilliancy 


of phrase which we call wit. 4 Such interest in epigram, in felicity 
of similitude, in boldness and aptness of imagery, had been, 
broadly speaking, both a dramatic and a social asset in fashionable 
England throughout the seventeenth century. It is the very heart 
of Etherege, not merely the Etherege of the plays but particularly 
the extraordinary gentleman of the Letterbool{. It is reasonable 
to think of the mature style of Congreve as the quintessence of 
Restoration wit, of which such men as Etherege, Wycherley, 
Rochester, Sedley, Dryden, and Shadwell were zealous practi- 
tioners in conversation, as well as in letters. Coming a little later, 
profiting by his native genius and their experience, Congreve had 
the fortune to carry the mode to the highest development it was 
^dcsSxiecT "to" receive. Serious French literature, and particularly 
the work of Moliere, stood foursquare against such gilding of 
natural language. To Moliere, language was a means with which 
to get things said; to Congreve and his innumerable British 
predecessors, the way things were said was one of the reasons 
for saying them. Verbal wit in Congreve, then, cannot be traced 
to the influence of Moliere. George Meredith has given classic 
expression to the difference between them: 

Contrast the wit of Congreve with Moliere's. That of the first is a 
Toledo blade, sharp, and wonderfully supple for steel; cast for duelling, 
restless in the scabbard, being so pretty when out of it. To shine, it 
must have an adversary. Moliere's wit is like a running brook, with 

4 Dobree (Comedies by WHliam Congreve, pp xvi-xviii) gives a penetrating discus- 
sion of Cbngreve's style, elaborating and illustrating the idea that Congreve was a poet, 
"an artist who realized that his material was words, who loved words, glorying in 
their proper and beautiful use." Dobree believes that Congreve developed his prose 
rhythms after a painstaking study of Jonson He credits Congreve with a full mastery of 
sudden changes in movement, a polyphonic gamut of vowel sounds, and an artistically 
varied spacing of stresses. "English literature had to wait for Landor until it once more 
had a voice that had something of the especial quality of Congreve." English dramatic 
prose progressed, he thinks, steadily through Jonson, Etherege and Dryden to Congreve, 
and then it passed into the essays of the eighteenth century. It would hardly need argu- 
ment to show that this "delicious phrase, the thrilling movement, the breath-catching 
swerve of tempo" is entirely too intimate a part of a language for it to be learned 
from a foreign idiom. 


innumerable fresh lights on it at every turn of the wood through 
which its business is to find a way. It does not run in search of ob- 
structions, to be noisy over them; but when dead leaves and viler sub- 
stances are heaped along the course, its natural song is heightened. 
Without effort, and with no dazzling flashes of achievement, it is full 
of healing, the wit of good breeding, the wit of wisdom. 5 

Much of the success of The Double Dealer arose from the bril- 
liance with which Congreve ridiculed the poses a#ecjted.hy jjiai- 
acters of good social, standing,. Such figures had been recurring 
whenever the example of Jonson was influential, sometimes in 
the form of pseudo-literary coxcombs like Brisk or his female 
counterpart, Lady Froth, sometimes in the form of lady pretend- 
ers to virtue who were secretly inclined to illicit love, like Lady 
Plyant and Lady Touchwood. In his first play he seems to have 
followed the tradition of the citizen comedy, which can be traced 
from the days of Middleton and Brome to Shadwell and Ravens- 
croft; but here in his second he turns to the higher social level 
exploited by Shirley, Etherege, Wycherley, and Dryden. On each 
of these planes he placed a fitting butt. Stupid Sir Joseph Wittol 
and bragging Captain Bluffe are ridiculous on the level of physi- 
cal fears and obviously silly pretensions. Suited to the tone of 
high comedy are Lord Froth, with his affected critical acumen, 
and Sir Paul Plyant, who is dominated by a "humor" for uxori- 
ousness and blinded judgment about his wife. In contrast to this 
ridicule of the affectations of the fashionable pretenders, we find 
an implied approval of the true-wits, Mellefont, Cynthia, and 
Careless. These character types and the attitudes toward them 
can be found in pre-Restoration comedy and in early Restoration 
comedy, but not in Moliere. 

When Congreve insisted in his dedication that his play had a 
single plot, he failed to understand that the ethical seriousness 
of the central incidents did not harmonize with the frothy exhi- 
bition of affected wits. Despite the interlacing of one group with 

5 "Essay on the Idea of Comedy," Works, XXIII, 17-18. 


the other, the play has the effect of a tragicomedy of thwarted 
villainy into which are interwoven irrelevant comic interludes 
of gay social satire. A lack of enthusiasm for the traditional Res- 
toration morality has crept in. _Getting more wickedness than 
folly into his plot, he slips from the level of absolute social comedy 
and_comes close to the dramatic defect of mixing ethical satire 
with social When he plays in Restoration style with misconduct, 
he reveals an undertone of morality that is totally foreign to gay 
Etherege but akin to the later Wycherley. Satires that deal with 
crimes and not with follies are apparently a temptation to good 
j>lajr^jights r for Jonson and Wycherley both wrote them too. 6 

Frequently the serious plot of The Double Dealer has been 
ascribed to the influence of Moliere. Although Miss Lynch re- 
jects nearly all the evidence cited by Miles in support of Moliere's 
influence upon Congreve, 7 she concurs in finding a borrowing 
in The Double Dealer. She says: 

The resemblance between the intrigue of Congreve's Maskwell and 
that of TartuflEe in Tartuffe may well be emphasized. Maskwell has 
Tartuffe's gift for securing blindly devoted friends. Lord Touchwood 
is like Orgon in his attachment to Maskwell. As Orgon promises his 
daughter, Touchwood promises his niece to the villainous intriguer. 
And at the moment when MaskwelTs treachery would have been con- 
firmed to any one who had eyes to see, Touchwood rashly disinherits 
his nephew and makes Maskwell his heir (V, i), as Orgon, at a similar 
crisis, disinherits his son and places his fortune at the disposal of Tar- 
tuffe (III, 7). 8 

6 For detailed evidence, see Davis, "The 'Sons of Ben' in English Realistic Comedy." 
I think that youth alone should secure Congreve's pardon for following their mistaken 
example. At least he made structural advancement, for The Double Dealer is better 
planned than the very famous Plain Dealer. The social refinement of the Touchwood 
family is better adapted to high comedy than the vulgarity of Manly, Olivia, and 
Vernish; the men who affected wit and the women who affected virtues are suited to 
the setting, not dragged in like the Blackacre family to enliven an irrelevant scene. 
Incidentally the sexual morality is more conventional: only one true-wit amuses himself 
with gallantry; the witty lovers are romantically eager to marry and too earnest to 
flirt; and the semi-incestuous Lady Touchwood is an object of scorn. 

7 Social Mode of Restoration Comedy, pp. 183-88. 
*Ibid., p. 185. 


Let us examine this resemblance. Congreve has elected to focus 
a plot about a villain. If this simple decision is not copied, and 
surely no one can argue that this is private property, all the 
parallels of the two plots that inhere in villainy or inhere in the 
dramatic necessity of postponing the unmasking of the villain 
until the denouement are developed independently. lago, for ex- 
ample, had the gift of getting friends, and he also secured the 
attachment of the duped to himself. Miles and Miss Lynch seem 
too intent on likenesses to notice that Mellefont, not the "humor- 
ous" and negligible Lord Touchwood, is the real dupe of Mask- 
well. Likewise, Lady Touchwood, not Maskwell, is the instigating 
force of evil in the story, wholly unlike the calm and virtuous 
Elmire, who unmasked Tartuffe to her deceived husband. Thus 
the most likely of all the parallels cited by earlier students seems 
to consist in commonplaces of the theatre or of concepts of char- 
acter, and therefore are not properly described as a borrowing. 9 
Let us turn to the third play, Love for Love (April, 1695). 
Having incurred his irascible father's displeasure by spending a 
fortune wooing the hesitating Angelica, Valentine stays in his 
chambers to dodge creditors. Angry Sir Sampson is trying to 
transfer the inheritance from Valentine to his younger son Ben, 
who is on the point of coming back from some years at sea. In 
return for ready cash for debts, Valentine signs a bargain to con- 
vey his future rights as soon as the sailor arrives. Ben comes. 
Valentine procrastinates by feigning madness. His conduct at last 
convinces Angelica that his love is sincere, and aided by Ben's 
tactless plain dealing, she extricates him through deft flattery of 
Sir Sampson. Into the story come a true-wit friend of Valen- 
tine's, a coxcomb, three comically eager women, a clever valet, 
and a cuckolded astrologer. 

9 Congreve was apparently in earnest when he wrote in the dedication, "[I] do not 
know that I have borrow'd one hint of it [ie., the fable] anywhere." Miles says (Influ- 
ence of Mohere on Restoration Comedy, p. 195) "In The Double Dealer, as he avowed 
in the epistle dedicatory, his effort was to imitate the French " I find no such avowal 


As the plot invited the echo of earlier Restoration flippancy, 
Congreve adapted his style to include broad repartee in the man- 
ner of Dryden, Sedley, or Wycherley. But, as elsewhere, he shaped 
the form of wit to the character who speaks it. In his "inex- 
plicable felicity of phrase, this invariable selection of the unex- 
pected and yet obviously the best word," 10 much characterization 
is achieved; for the style regularly discloses the speaker, whether 
it be Angelica taunting Foresight for the infidelities of his wife, 
Scandal in his wild gallantries, Valentine making safety-valve 
speeches under the color of madness, or Sailor Ben with his 
fresh opinions and salty bluntness. 

The satiric mood of the second play is retained, but the ridi- 
cule is directed at social follies; and so a true comedy of manners 
appears, a comedy free of mere farce on the one hand or of heavy 
ethical freight on the other. The traditions of Restoration com- 
edy provide most of the character types, most of the dramatic 
situations, and the verbal flippancy. Congreve breathes into this 
aged body a wholly new life; he gives the characters such a real- 
istic portrayal that he feels it necessary to disclaim an attempt 
at personal portraits. 11 Sir Sampson, the "humorous" angry father, 
is as old as Plautus and as real as a next-door neighbor. Supersti- 
tious Foresight first acted for Jonson; with a change of make-up 
he served Shadwell; here he finds a good role. Mrs. Foresight and 
her sister are lively members of an old stage family, women of 
comically robust desires and frail restraint. Miss Prue is a full 
sister to Margery Pinchwife and Hoyden. All these people arise 
from and belong in the English tradition of "humors," but each 
foible is fully adapted to the person who possesses it, and it exists 
as a mental rather than a physical trait. Despite their traditional 
origin, these characters are new creations; although, of course, 
in the more restricted sense of a copy from life rather than from 
letters, Sailor Ben is the only original character. His bluff sea 

10 Gosse, op. cit., p. 173. u See latter part of the prologue. 


speech, his hearty good sense, and his general indifference to the 
world of fashion, make him perhaps the best example of Con- 
greve's ability to write from life as well as from literary sources. 
The fact that a man devoid of social grace is not satirized indi- 
cates a new social standard. Scarcely a situation in Love for Love 
lacks a parallel in earlier drama. Valentine turning prodigal for 
love of the apparently indifferent Angelica; Angelica determining 
to be sure of his constancy before she acknowledges her feeling 
for him; the angry father disinheriting the spendthrift son, who 
thwarts the paternal ire by feigning madness; the young second 
wife of Foresight cuckolding her dotard husband; the silly beau 
boasting of his amours, winning only the heart of an eager sim- 
pleton, and falling victim to a marriage in a mask these are 
familiar enough. More novel is the Shavian boldness with which 
Angelica takes the masculine initiative and wins Valentine by 
feigning a readiness to marry his father. The freshness, the vigor, 
and the comic force with which Congreve recompounded fa- 
miliar elements gives the play its high place as theatrical enter- 
tainment. Its realism, its satire, and its fundamental approval of 
decent behavior between the sexes show the further development 
of Congreve as an independent artist. 

It should occasion no surprise to note that, in his reflective letter 
to John Dennis, Congreve gives ample evidence that he regu- 
larly thought in terms of the English comic tradition. He cites 
chiefly Jonson and his characters as examples of true "humors," 
which he defines as Ben himself might: "A singular and un- 
avoidable manner of doing, or saying anything, Peculiar and 
Natural to one Man only; by which his Speech and Actions are 
distinguished from those of other Men." He reveals his developing 
taste as an independent artist by differing, in one respect, with 
the practice of the English stage, which he had himself followed 
in his earliest play. He does not care to laugh at characters who 
make him think the worse of his own human species. He thus 


deplores the classification of the absurdities, the impertinencies, 
and the noise of grotesque "Farce Fools" as "humor." He denies 
the term also to personal defects or natural deformities, to external 
habit of body such as dress or manners, and to affectations. "Hu- 
mour is from Nature, Habit from Custom; and Affectation from 
Industry." Instead he gives his approval to the presentation of 
natural "humors" as the right technique of character portrayal 
for the stage. He is therefore explicit in his insistence upon a 
distinction between affected and innate characteristics, only the 
latter, as elements in a true individuality, deserving the term 
"humor." We can see that he made Sailor Ben, Foresight, and 
Sampson "humorous" in this sense. English letters and life were 
in his mind when he wrote: 

. . . there is more of Humour in our English Comick writers than in 
any others. ... I look upon Humour to be almost of English Growth 
. . . the reason of it, is the great Freedom, Privilege, and Liberty which 
the Common People of England enjoy. Any man that has a Humour is 
under no restraint, or fear of giving it Vent. 12 

Five years later he had changed his mind and decided that true 
"humors" were not amusing. He felt that they deserved pity 
rather than laughter. Thus he arrived by a logical progression 
at the method he employed in this last play. The doctrine is made 
explicit in the dedication of The Way of the World (March, 

Those, character which are meant to be ridiculed in most of ^our 
..raijw objects of charity than contempt; and instead 

of moving our mirth, they ought very often to excite pur comgassjon. 
This reflection moved me to design some characters wliich should 
appear ridiculous, not so much through a natural folly (which is in- 
corrigible, and therefore not proper for the stage) as through an af- 
fected wit; a wit which at the same time it is affected, is also false. 

12 "Mr. Congreve to Mr. Dennis Concerning Humour in Comedy" (dated July 10, 
1695), Worksjtf Con^retre^ ej- hY Sun* 1 ^ T TT, 161-68. 


Congreve's mastery of comic art was definitively demonstrated 
in his last great contribution. One might even suspect that he 
never undertook another play of the type because he had a feeling 
that few artistic problems were left unsolved, for within the lim- 
its of the genre, as it existed in his day, it would be hard to better 
The Way of the World, except in the plot, for which no English 
dramatist had Moliere's instinct. The plan provides that sem- 
blance of bustle and activity which the British stage had long 
demanded, but it possesses a closer unity than The Double Dealer, 
in which he thought he had accomplished that end. The story, 
turns about the usual marriage of a true-wit gallant to a young 
lady of infinite poise and ample wealth. Mirabell, once the adul- 
terous lover of his friend's wife, Mrs. Fainall, is wooing the lovely 
Millamant, half of v?hose fortune is left to the whim of her aunt, 
Ladj Wishfort, Mrs. FainalTs mother. Fainall wishes Mirabell 
to wed Millamant at the expense jof her aunt's ire, so that the 
fortune will be diverted to his wife and thence to himself. Th 
game is further complicated by his mistress, Mrs. Marwood, who 
is in his confidence, but whp has an undisclosed aad unrequited 
love for Mirabell and is a very uncertain factor. J^abeJLLeads 
thejssault hy. pretending a gallant's interest in the oldJady,jand 
he_ comes as close as he can bear jto winDinghcjca^^^ 
but faded charms. TT^sj^^^tte^^ con- 

tending forces compose the jplot. The denouement is effected b^ 
the revelation of an unknown document, but this dusty deyicg 
has a fresh plausibility in the characters and in their past Dela- 
tions* .Sk Wilfull Witwoud conforms to the tradition of the rural 
knight and provides the comic decoration of perennially amus- 
ing crudity, though he is not quite a butt, and he has enough 
intelligence to aid in bringing about the union of the lovers. 
Painted old Lady Wishfort, who is amusing because she is, as 
Mirabell remarks, all that her name implies, has been conceived 
,jn a far more human form than Lady Cockwood or any of her 


other prototypes. Witwoud and Petulant, among the more amus- 
ing fops of the Restoration stage, are also foils for Millamant 
After we glimpse her charmingly intelligent and mannered friv- 
olity in their presence, we are prepared to understand her j:are- 
le_ss earnestness and flippant good sense when she appears with 
MkabelL In such deft manipulation of traditional material lies 
the peculiar charm of CongLCja for the literary historian. He 
gives conventional material a wholly new vitality. Doing nearly 
all the typical things, typical characters are still so individual 
that they step off the boards into a world of reality. Standard 
situations take on the verve of wholly new ones. The cadence of 
Congreve's prose belongs to the speech of such inimitable people. 
Keen-minded characters are the natural sources of the freely flow- 
ing wit. Congreve's study of artistic ends has manipulated the 
conventions with a finish that anyone can feel. The plot also 
Jurnishes ^n outlet for the author's interest in the ethics of Res- 
toration conduct, but this concern is not allowed to outweigfi 
the Asocial comedy, as it did in his second play. Although a gallant 
true-wit, Mirabell is a rather serious young man who finds his 
pursuit of the languidly coquettish Millamant unhappily com- 
plicated by the trammels of his former conquests. Satiety and 
disillusionment lurk in the shadows behind him. He knows that 
beneath her superficial affectations Millamant is loyal, wise, and 
infinitely desirable for her own sake. His marriage will not be 
just a cure for a sick purse; happily it will bring an end to his 
days as a wild gallant, days he is eager to put behind him, for 
they have almost destroyed this chance for happiness and he 
knows that there is no health in them. 13 In place of crass villainy 

, -JL_, , f * * ~f xxrr , 

w,e find the unrepentant but sadly punished couple, Mrs. Mar- 
wood and Fainall. On the title-page Congreve appropriately 
quotes from the second satire of Horace: 

13 1 am indebted to Miss Miriam Gabriel for first pointing out the ethical implications 
of The Way of the World. She has presented cogent argument in an article, as yet un- 
published, which I have been permitted to read. 


Audire est Operae pretium, procedere recte 
Qui maechis non vultis . . . 
. . . Metuat doti deprensa. 

Thus in this acknowledged masterpiece of the English comedy 
of manners, almost every element has been produced by making 
artistic modifications to traditional material. Abrupt mutations 
are wholly absent. The Way of the World contains as many re- 
semblances to earlier successes, in all probability, as any play 
ever written. Herein, lies .its supremacy; each detail J$ tfo^-ead-ef- 
.ajx. evolutionary series. It is placed at the head of every list of 
plays of its kind, because its genre and its materials had ^pent .a 
century growing up together. Its harmony of plot, of characters, 
of atmosphere, of wit, of ethical intention, and of literary style, 
is the result of happy modifications within a tradition a touch 
here, a heightening there, new combinations, and added polish 
to familiar materials. Congreve the man, Congreve the artist, the 
contemporary milieu, and the English comedy of manners had 
all somehow grown up with an understanding that left no unre- 
solved conflicts. Although he read Moliere and the classics, he 
schooled himself in seventeenth-century English comedy from 
Jonson and Fletcher onward. He knew its successes and its fail- 
ures, its aims and its needs, the manners it reflected, and the 
reactions of audiences to these manners. To this knowledge he 
added artistic taste and unusual critical judgment; he thought 
when he wrote. None of the dramatists after Jonson has left the 
clear evidence of high respect for the comic poet's calling that we 
find in his incidental writings, jffii strength was more than wit, 
^more than style; it was comic genius. But it is a matter of sig- 
nificant fact that I can find no demonstrable borrowing from 
Moliere in any of his comedies. 14 

14 1 can see no gain whatever in recounting my labors on this point. A detailed refuta- 
tion of all the allegations would make a book in itself, a book whose dullness would 
be matched only by its futility. Parallels of incident, of phrase, of character, of tone, of 
dialogue, of method, have been reported in greater numbers than one can count. I have 


The creative influence on Congreve, then, was English comedy 
before and after 1660. For that truth there are a thousand sub- 
stantial data. Inflecting to depict a society of gallantry, JHrtation, 
and looseness in sexual relations; in reflecting the philosophy of 
life of such a social order; in approving the witty speech of true- 
wits and in laughing at the pseudo-wit of social imitators; in ridi- 
culing: the .gulls, fops, and social pretenders of both sexes; in 
writing dialogue redolent of wit for wit's sake; in mixing ethical 
satirejwith social; in selecting conventional dramatic situations; 
in following dramatic customs and adhering to traditional dra^ 
matic structure, Congreve exploited English prototypes. He de- 
veloped them to their highest expression because he was a comic 
genius, but on none of these things did his acquaintance with 
Moliere's plays have a discernible effect 


Although the recorded dates make Sir John Vanbrugh in- 
dubitably a contemporary of Congreve, in his careless heart Sir 
John was unknowingly looking beyond the coming school of 
morality and sensibility toward the problem play of the nine- 
teenth century. Not a sentimentalist, as so often charged, he 
glanced carelessly at some of the social injustices of his times and 
saw them clearly. In The Relapse, or Virtue in Danger (Decem- 
ber, 1696), the plight of the poverty-stricken younger brother is 
presented in Tom Fashion, brother of Lord Foppington, with a 
sympathy unique in seventeenth-century plays. This treatment is 
incidental to a plot that makes Tom assume the place of the 
traditional true-wit and win the approval of the audience by 
his ability to outdo his highly affected brother; thus plot motiva- 

gone through this evidence, judging it by the criteria set up above in Chapter II. (For a 
bibliography of the works so examined, see Chapter I above, particularly notes 23, 24, 
30-33, and 40-42). To my surprise, no sound grain survived the winnowing. Palmer 
(Comedy of Manners) and Dobree (Restoration Comedy) make no reference at all to 
Moliere in their extended discussions of Congreve. 


tion aided and abetted the innovation. Repeatedly Vanbrugh 
looks behind the conventional marriage, to present the lot of 
those unhappily mated. His treatment is realistic, rather than 
comic or sentimental. He recognizes that marriage is a relation- 
ship whose inherent intimacy loads it with possibility for great 
suffering, if there is lack of sympathy, forbearance, and courtesy. 
He proposes no more radical solution than better mating, with 
something besides money or social position in mind. 15 Thus Van- 
brugh's plays, although they are amusingly licentious at times, 
possess a tinge of morality not wholly unlike Wycherley's or 
Congreve's. The busy soldier-author-architect made his plays 
hastily, and therefore adapted several of them from the French, 
but the social observation is distinctly his own. 

It would be impossible to prove by a comparison of the texts 
that in The Relapse Vanbrugh had M. Jourdain of Le Bourgeois 
Gentilhomme in mind when he wrote Lord Foppington's dress- 
ing scene/ 6 but the number of minor similarities suggests that 
this was the case. The two scenes are totally different in their 
chief effect, however, and the confident beau of Vanbrugh's con- 
ception did not originate from the timid, but socially ambitious, 
bourgeois that Moliere created. Lord Foppington is a splendid 
example of the stage dandy, some say the finest. His immediate 
prototype was Sir Novelty Fashion, of Colley Gibber's Love's Last 
Ship (January, 1696), of which The Relapse is, as every one 
knows, a mocking sequel. All resemblance of Foppington to 
Mascarille, of Les Precieuses ridicules, is of the superficial sort 
found in independent portrayals of a common social type. The 
play is, in general, Restoration in tone and morality. The au- 
thor's prefatory insistence on his decency is typical of his flippant 
attitude. In all this Moliere has no place. 

Miles thinks that Sir Tunbelly and Hoyden are "a reflection 

15 For the original development of this general view, see Mueschke and Fleisher, 
"A Re-Evaluation of Vanbrugh," PMLA, XLIX (1934) 848-89. 

16 Cf. Act I, scene 3, with Mohere's play, Act II, scene 5. 


of Sganarelle and Isabella in L'ficolc des marts, probably through 
The Country Wife." 17 Although of trifling importance, the point 
is not one that can be absolutely settled. Like Miss Prue, of Love 
for Love, Hoyden seems to be something of a Margery Pinchwif e, 
the comically eager country girl whom Wycherley developed, as 
was shown above in Chapter V, from Moliere's L'ficole des 
femmes. The characteristics common to Margery, Prue, and Hoy- 
den arise from Wycherley's chief addition to the character of 
the pure Isabelle, an unrestrained sexual eagerness. It is barely 
possible that some of Moliere's invention filtered through, but 
certainly very little. Sir Tunbelly is another specimen of the type 
of rural knight who appeared on the stage regularly from Jon- 
son's time onward; he is not like either Pinch wife or Sganarelle. 
If Vanbrugh found Hoyden in The Country Wife, there is per- 
haps an almost perceptible debt to Moliere. Even Miles thinks the 
debt little enough, for he says elsewhere: 

It is unnecessary to remark that he [Vanbrugh] did not study 
Moliere, for it is clear that he paid little attention to the structure of 
anybody's plays Vanbrugh's presentation of manners ... is com- 
pletely lacking in the sympathy with life and the insight into character 
that distinguished Moliere. 18 

Aside from these trifling possibilities, the three original plays 
of Vanbrugh, The Relapse, The Provoked Wife (May, 1697), 
and the unfinished Journey to London (completed and staged 
by Colley Gibber under the title of The Provoked Husband, 
1728), show no sign of Moliere's influence. His plays are in 
the English comic tradition. Where they depart from it, the de- 
parture can be explained by reference to current attitudes in 
England or to Vanbrugh's personal contribution. 

We must not overlook the fact that The Mistake (December, 
1705) is a translation of Le Depit amoureux. Vanbrugh gives 
Moliere's play a scene-by-scene and incident-by-incident reproduc- 

17 Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy, p. 236. 

18 Ibid., pp. 212-14. 


tion; he pays the compliment of a closer rendering than he has 
given any previous translation. On the whole, Moliere's gaiety is 
reproduced by the masterly paraphrasing of the sense of each 
speech into the colloquial prose of which Vanbrugh had a ready 
command. The dignity imposed upon Moliere by his rhymed 
hexameter verse prevented him from using the low-comedy inci- 
dents he employed freely enough in prose farces. Vanbrugh's 
version is not so hampered, and his injection of low-comedy addi- 
tions, like his realistic style, is more natural to the original plot 
than Moliere's. Vigor often replaces languor, and concrete 
imagery replaces vague generalizations. Compare Marinette's 
speech with its English version: 

Mar. En effet, tu dis bien, voila comme il faut etre: 
Jamais de ces soup$ons qu'un jaloux fait paroitre! 
Tout le fruit qu'on en cueille est de se mettre mal, 
Et d'avancer par la les desseins d'un rival: 
Au merite souvent de qui 1'eclat vous blesse 
Vos chagrins font ouvnr les yeux d'une maitresse; 
Et j'en sais tel qui doit son destin le plus doux 
Aux soins trop inquiets de son rival jaloux; 
Enfin, quoi qu'il en soit, temoigner de 1'ombrage, 
C'est jouer en amour un mauvais personnage, 
Et se rendre, apres tout, miserable a credit: 
Cela, seigneur firaste, en passant vous soit dit. 19 

Jacm [ta]. That's the Way to prosper, however so far I'll confess the 
Truth to thee, at least if that don't do, nothing else will. Men are 
mighty simple in Love-Matters, Sir: When you suspect a Woman's fall- 
ing off, you fall a plaguing her to bring her on again, attack her with 
Reason, and a sour Face; udslife, Sir, attack her with a Fiddle, double 
your good Humour, give her a Ball, powder your Perriwig at her, 
let her cheat you at Cards a little, and I'll warrant all's right again. But 
to come upon a poor Woman with the gloomy Face of Jealousie, be- 
fore she gives the least Occasion for't, is to set a complaisant Rival in 

19 Le Depit, Act I, scene 2. 


too favourable a Light. Sir, Sir, 1 must tell you, I have seen those have 
ow'd their Success to nothing else. 20 

Generally condensation is used to improve prolix passages. Com- 
pare Albert's soliloquy in Act II, scene 5, with Don Alvarez' 
sprightly equivalent: 

En quel gouflfre de soins et de perplexite 

Nous jette une action faite sans equite! 

D'un enfant suppose par mon trop d'avarice 

Mon coeur depuis longtemps soufire bien le supplice, 

Et quand je vois les maux ou je me suis plonge, 

Je voudrois a ce bien n'avoir jamais songe. 

Tantot je crains de voir par la fourbe eventee 

Ma famille en opprobre et misere jetee; 

Tantot pour ce fils-la, qu'il me faut conserver, 

Je crains cent accidents qui peuvent arriver. 

S'il advient que dehors quelque affaire m'appelle, 

J'apprehende au retour cette triste nouvelle: 

'Las! vous ne savez pas? vous Fa-ton annonce? 

Votre fils a la fievre, ou jambe, ou bras casse.' 

Enfin, a tous moments, sur quoi que je m'arrete, 

Cent sortes de chagrins me roulent par la tete. 


I'll try if I can discover, by his Tutor, what 'tis that seems so much 
to work his Brain of late, for something more than common there 
plainly does appear, yet nothing sure that can disturb his Soul, like 
what I have to torture mine on his Account. Sure nothing in this 
World is worth a troubled Mind: What Racks has Avarice stretched 
me on; I wanted nothing, kind Heav'n had given me a plenteous Lot, 
and seated me in great Abundance; why then approve I of this Impos- 
ture? What have I gain'd by it? Wealth and Misery; I have barter'd 
peaceful Days for restless Nights; a wretched Bargain! and he that 
Merchandizes thus, must be undone at last. 21 

For the fourth act Vanbrugh successfully prolongs and elaborates 
the best comic scenes of the original play. 22 An examination of 

20 The Mistake, Act I, scene i (Dobree, cd , Complete Worlds of Vanbrugh, III, 89). 

21 The Mistake, Act II, scene i (Dobree cd., Ill, 99). 

22 "Le Deptt amoureux se compose de deux pieces soudees ensemble, mais que Ton 


the two versions side by side is very interesting because of the 
additions that were made in the speeches and in the stage busi- 
ness. While the total length is increased to a moderate degree, 
the addition comes in the new business. Moliere's lovers feel hurt 
and angry. Urged on by their servants, who are also lovers, they 
decide to break, firaste declares his love cannot endure such 
haughty treatment. Lucile listens coldly and asks him to return 
no more. Agreeing to part forever, they return all gifts; he a por- 
trait of her, she some jewels. Then they happen to read the senti- 
ments written at the time the gifts were made. The servants 
urge them to go away from each other, but firaste once more de- 
clares his love, and, after Lucile scolds him for his jealousy, they 

firaste. Mais cruelle, c'est vous qui Tavez bien voulu. 
Lucille. Moi? Point du tout; c'est vous qui Pavez 
r&olu. 23 

The difference soon dissolves and he takes her home. Then the 
servants both express contempt for the weakness of their mistress 
and master. They descend to abuse, and return each other's pal- 
try gifts of lace, ribbon, pins, knives, and scissors. The comedy 
gets broad: 

Gros-Rene. J'oubliois d'avant-hier ton morceau de fromage: 
Tiens! Je voudrois pouvoir rejeter le potage 
Que tu me fis manger, pour n'avoir rien a toi. 
Marinette. Je n'ai point maintenant de tes lettres sur moi; 

petit separer. L'une, la plus considerable par le nombre des scenes, est une imitation 
d'un imbroglio italien, et c'est la partie la plus faible. L'autre, plus courte, n'appardent 
qu'a Moliere; et Moliere y est deja tout entier. C'est la seule que represente depuis bien 
longtemps le Theatre frangais. Elle se compose de ces scenes de brouifte et de raccom- 
modement dont Moliere a depuis reproduit 1'idee dans plusieurs de ses comedies; mais 
jamais il n'a deployc une sensibilite' plus vraie, une plus franche et plus naive gaiete. Ces 
scenes ainsi detachees forment une petite piece, assez complete dans son cadre restreint. 
. . . Moliere lui-meme semble presque avoir autonse cette separation, en donnant a sa 
comedie un titre qui ne convient nullement au fond de la piece et ne s'apphque qu'a 
ces scenes de depit amoureux" (Despois-Mesnard, ed., Oeuvrcs de Moliere, I, [381]). 
23 Ibid., Act IV, scene 3 (Despois-Mesnard ed., I, 493). 


Mais fen ferai du feu jusques a la derniere. 

Gr os-Rene. Et des tiennes tu sais ce que j'en saurai faire? 24 

In a moment laughter brings reconciliation. 

In Vanbrugh's version, the servants take a more active part 
in the first quarrel, busily seconding the causes of their prin- 
cipals. Leonora throws a "Tablebook" of Don Carlos' verses at his 

There, Sir, take your Poetry again, 'tis not much the worse for my 
wearing; 'twill serve again upon a fresh Occasion. 

He tosses a handful of letters at her feet, 
... a Pocketful of your Prose. There. 

Then she flings his letters in his face. The servants engage in 
instant battle too. Sancho exclaims: 

'Cods my Life, we want Ammunition; but for a shift There, and 
there, you saucy Slut, you. 

[Sancho pulls a Pac\ of dirty Cards out of his Pocket, and throws 
'em at her; then they close; he pulls off her Head-cloaths, and she his 
Wigg, and then part, running she to her Mistress, he to his Master?* 

Though both women are determined to hold the field, the storm 
is soon over. Don Carlos "Carries her [Leonora] oif, embracing 
her, and kissing her Hand." The servants then resume the quar- 
rel, calling names and returning gifts. He returns a handkerchief 
he has cherished, first blowing his nose in it. She takes off the 
garters he gave and "slaps 'em about his Face." Just as he lifts 
his cudgel, she leaps about his neck in an amorous frenzy, and 
the storm blows over. 

Moliere's scene is unmistakably broadened, but not to such an 
extent as to alter the psychology of Le Depit. It might even be 
defended as more natural and more amusing than the original. 
Vanbrugh has merely developed the low comedy inherent in the 

24 Ibid., Act IV, scene 4. 

25 Act IV, scene i (Dobrce ed., Ill, 117). 


original. Perry finds an explanation of these alterations in Van- 
brugh's limited interest in romance. He says: 

It is interesting to note how much more at home Sir John seems to 
be in the low-life passages from Moliere than with the high flown ro- 
mantic sentiments in which the main plot of Deptt Amoureux abounds, 
and the same tendency may be observed in his other adaptations. It is 
curious that again and again he should choose a romantic play on 
which to exercise his talents: Aesop, The Pilgrim, The False Friend, 
and The Mistake are all taken from dramas (most of them in verse) 
filled with noble emotions and even nobler sentiments. Perhaps Van- 
brugh kept on good terms with his conscience by devoting his energies 
to such elevated material and then pleased himself by the prosaic and 
ribald way in which he treated it. At any rate, each time that he had 
any real success with his second-hand work, it was in the coarser pas- 
sages, where he could stick to mundane concerns and did not need to 
soar with his original into the higher levels of romantic fancy. Such 
passages are generally those in which the servants are concerned, and 
in every case Vanbrugh has added to and developed their roles. 26 

It might be argued that Vanbrugh was, instead, meeting the ex- 
pectations of his audiences with a tone used in comedy for a 
hundred years before him. He does not debase Moliere's play, 
although he necessarily changes the tone, but really carries out 
what its spirit ought to have been. The Mistake is the first good 
acting translation of Moliere into English. 

There remains one unimportant, but baffling, question. In Feb- 
ruary, 1704, Vanbrugh, Congreve, and Walsh translated or 
adapted Monsieur de Pourccaugnac under the title of Squire 
Trelooby, Moliere's Limousine gull becoming a Cornish squire. 
The play was staged that spring with great success. An anony- 
mous quarto volume, entitled Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, or 
Squire Trelooby, was published in April. The preface declares it 
to be independent work, and elsewhere Congreve declared this 
was "none of ours." In 1734, when all three of the original au- 

26 Comic Spirit in Restoration Drama, pp. 103-4. 


thors had died, Ralph produced The Cornish Squire, which he 
said came from the manuscript of the original three men and 
which he had altered somewhat. One cannot even say that the 
original text is not extant in one of these versions. 27 But no mat- 
ter who wrote the versions we have, and no matter how many 
or how few translations there were, someone adapted Moliere; 
but since Ozell and others were soon to set about the translation 
of all Moliere's work, this version, which had a short stage life, 
is not very important. There is none of the matter nor spirit of 
Moliere in Vanbrugh's remaining original plays, The Provoked 
Wife, and The Journey to London, and none crept into his trans- 
lations from Le Sage, Boursault, and Dancourt. Obviously Moliere 
was not a vital influence in Vanbrugh's art, especially if we con- 
cede Palmer's extreme praise that "In every case his adaptations 
from Dancourt, Boursault, even Moliere, are better than their 
originals." 2S 


When George Farquhar went to his untimely grave, amidst 
the plaudits of The Beaux' Stratagem, in 1707, a prophetic Thalia 
might have foreseen that the great comedy of manners had died. 
It is the last of its kind. Some go further, John Palmer, for exam- 
ple, in insisting that "Farquhar killed the comedy to which he 
contributed the last brilliant examples," 20 because he introduced 
moral problems where they did not belong. Others, like William 
Archer, defend him for the same essential facts; viz., that he 

27 Genest (Some Account of the English Stage, III, 409) gives some of the docu- 
mentary evidence. Sir Edmund Gosse (Life of Congreve, pp. 135-38) gives a clear 
account of the known facts. 

28 Comedy of Manners, p. 225. Dametz (John Vanbrughs Leben und Werfy, p. 192) 
pays the same tribute in a more restricted form: "Man vergleiche z.B. die Scene zwischen 
dem Vater Leonoras. Don Alvarez, und Don Lorenzos Vater, Don Felix, mitt der be- 
treffenden Scene im Mohereschen Stuck, oder die Scene, wo das einander schmollende 
Liebespaar auftntt, so wird man jedenfalls dem Vanbrughischen Stuck den Vorzug 

29 Op. at., p. 242. 


had no "wit" as Wycherley or Congreve would define it, and 
that he manifested some interest in "moral sensibility" where it 
had been too long lacking. 30 Wit was surely replaced by Irish 
impudence in Sir Harry Wildair, who is, under various names, 
the hero of every play. But all agree that a felicitous mastery of 
theatrically effective comic incident gives life to Farquhar's plays. 
This is the more remarkable because he was manipulating stock 
characters and conventional situations with the verve of wholly 
new material. But all this has little enough to do with Moliere. 
Moreover the record is so free of false hopes of finding an influ- 
ence that there is little even to refute. Schmid gives no space to 
Moliere, and Miles admits that he "hardly belongs in a discussion 
of Moliere's influence." 33 This is not surprising, for Farquhar 
holds his secure place in literature because of his fertile genius 
for originating comic figures in the Irish-British manner. 


Congreve, Vanbrugh, and Farquhar close the history of Res- 
toration comedy. The first of these carried the true comedy of 
manners to its highest level in England without leaving evidence 
that Moliere was, in an important way, formative of his genius 
or of any detail of his art. What is there in Congreve that cannot 
be fully explained without allusion to the Frenchman? In con- 

30 See Archer's introduction to George Farquhar ("The Mermaid Series")* pp. 15-29, 
especially p. 16. 

31 Schmid, George Farquhar, sein Leben und seine Original-Dramen Van Laun called 
a conventionalized similarity between Farquhar's first play, Love and a Bottle (1699) 
and Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme a positive borrowing ("Les Plagiaires de Moliere en 
Angleterre," Le Molicriste, III, 139). On about the same sort of evidence, Miles says 
Squire Mockmode is copied from M. de Pourceaugnac. The sole resemblance is that 
both are country gulls. The likeness of Mockmode to Jourdam of Le Bourgeois Gen- 
tilhomme lies merely in the fact that both had tutors. Shirley also employed a gull with 
a tutor; the likenesses are accidents. In The Constant Couple, or a Trip to the Jubilee, 
Farquhar took nothing from Moliere. Miles thinks Act II, scene 5, was suggested by 
Le Mededn malgre lui, Act I, scene 5. (See Miles, op at t p 227.) The resemblance 
consists in the fact that Smuggler and Sganarelle are beaten by men who are not angry 
with them. Miles also finds a passage in The Beaux' Stratagem which he thinks is 
"freely adapted" from Le Tartuffe, I see nothing distinctive about the resemblance. 


trast Vanbrugh was a liberal and assimilating borrower. No mat- 
ter what he found in his sources, he absorbed it into his own 
gay and superficial self, gave it a dash of Elizabethan verve, and 
turned it out. Moliere contributed heavily, and while this may 
have been of importance in the subsequent history of Moliere in 
eighteenth-century England, it did not materially affect the origi- 
nal comedy of Vanbrugh. Farquhar bears many resemblances to 
Vanbrugh: he showed even more vitality and animal exuberance, 
he seemed to be a more positive echo of long-forgotten Jacobean 
energy of action, and his gaiety was more intense and more dash- 
ing. He did not use a thing from Moliere, who was not, we must 
conclude from the evidence, a contributor to the spirit of these 
three men. Even though we hold Vanbrugh's insouciant borrow- 
ings of matter before us, we must close with a minimizing ges- 
ture against all assertions of Moliere's influence upon them. 


ONE OF the principles of this study is that influence upon 
a larger mass of literature, such as the comic drama of a 
period, must be considered in the light of the whole of that lit- 
erature, not in the light merely of those examples in which 
borrowings occur. In order that the reader might understand 
the relation of Moliere to authors who did borrow from him, the 
preceding chapters have largely ignored the nature and product 
of those Restoration playwrights who did not. In this chapter the 
readers must again traverse the same forty years 1 of dramatic 
history, as swiftly perhaps as tourists through an art gallery. 
Plays whose authors borrowed from Moliere are put into their 
chronological place, and the much larger number free from his 
influence are now brought into the focus of this study. The 
approach is strictly chronological, so that time, the first guide to 
cause and effect, may make its valuable contribution to a sense 
of proportion. 

The Restoration comedies found in the earlier chapters to con- 
tain certain or possible borrowings from Moliere are listed in 
their order on pages 180-81. 

Let us lay this table beside the chronological list given in 
Appendix B. The average rate of production of comedies over 

X I am restricting the subject matter of Chapter IX strictly to the years 1660-1700. In 
Chapter VIII I ran over the latter lurut to include the works of Vanbrugh and Farquhar, 
because existing interest in them as Restoration comedies extends to their relation to 
Moliere. But this exception does not make it desirable to go beyond 1700 for a survey 
of Moliere's relation to comedies of the Restoration. 


the forty years, 1660-1700, was five plays a year. Not quite one 
in twelve (sixteen plays in all) contains enough material from 
Moliere to be described as adaptation, under which heading are 
included all borrowings that were substantially formative. Four- 
teen other plays unmistakably contain borrowings that are not 
extensive enough to be very influential in shaping results. Eight 
remaining plays contain resemblances that cannot be positively 
affirmed or certainly denied as resulting from the English authors' 
acquaintance with the Frenchman. Altogether thirty-eight Res- 
toration plays, nearly one in five, have some connection with 


Mention was made in Chapter III of the turning of the early 
Restoration theatre to pre-Restoration materials. It was there 
shown that much of the manner and tone of the comedy arose 
from the influence of Jonson, Fletcher, Shirley, and their satellites. 
Some of this influence came through reading, some was acquired 
through the presence of old successes as living drama on the 
stage, and some may be explained by the fact that several writers, 
Abraham Cowley, Sir Robert Stapylton, Thomas Killigrew, the 
Duke and the Duchess of Newcastle, John Tatham, and William 
D'Avenant bridged the dark years as dramatists in both periods. 
Surely the imitation of former giants by later pygmies is most 
natural. But new comedies came slowly; only six were staged 
during the years 1660, 1661, and 1662. Of these Cowley 's Cutter 
of Caiman Street (a rewriting of his pre-Restoration The 
Guardian) and Robert Howard's The Committee are the best 
known. 2 Like Tatham's The Rump, Howard's play belongs to 

2 Ward (English Dramatic literature, III, 394 n.) speaks of the hypocritical Mr. Day 
of this play as "a vile kind of Tartuffe." This is an example of a likeness that cannot be 
a borrowing, for Le Tartuffe was still unwritten. The observation of such examples pro- 
vides a wholesome corrective to undue credulity in such matters. With Shakespeare's 
Tlmon, Marston's Malevole. Middleton's Hoard, and Massinger's Overreach in mind, 
one will hesitate before saying any misanthrope or any miser is painted after Alceste or 
Harpagon. Ward, of course, makes no such mistake. 


















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r>'A.venant's Playhouse to Be JLet, 


Z>ryden's Sir Martin Mar-^4.11, 1667 
Sedley's M^ulberry Garden, 1668 
Shadwell's Sullen L.overs, 1668 
Dryden's Evening's JLove, 1668 

Flecknoe's Damoiselles a la Mode, 
Lacy's Dumb JLady, 1669 
Caryl's Sir Salomon., 1669 
Betterton's ^4,-morou.s IVidotv, c. 

Kledboxirne's Tartuffe, 1670 
"Wycher ley's Gentleman Dancing 

Master, 1672 
Shadwell's Miser, 1672 
E>ryden's JS/farriage a la J^Iode, 
Ravenscroft's JMLamamouchi, 1672 

Ravenscroft's Careless JLovers, 1673 
XVycherley's Country IVife, 1675 
Shadwell's Psyche, 1675 
Shadwell's JLibertine, 1675 

Crowne's Country IV it, 1676 
Etherege's Jblan of M^ode, 1676 
Rawlins* Tom Essence, 1676 
Otway's Cheats of Scapin, 1676 
W"ycher ley's Plain Dealer, 1676 

Ravenscroft's Scaramouch, 1677 
Behn's Sir Patient Fancy, 1678 

Otway's Soldier's Fortune, 1680 
Ravenscroft's JLondon Cuckolds, 

Behn's False Count, 1682 
Otway's 4t heist, 1683 
Crowne's .S/> Courtly Nice, 1685 
Shadwell's Bury Fair, 1689 

Shadwell's timorous Bigot, 1690 
Dryden's Amphitryon, 1690 
Cro vine's English Friar, 1690 
"Wright's Female Vertuosoes, 1693 
Ravenscroft's Canterbury Guests, 

Vanbrug-h's Relapse, 1696 
Penlcethman's JLotse usithout In- 


the early group of political comedies described by Allardyce 
Nicoll 3 In its method of characterization it combines the Jon- 
sonian tradition of "humors" with contemporary realism. Among 
these six examples of comedy during the earliest years of the 
period, we find no use of Moliere. But in the summer of 1663 
came Sir William D'Avenant's Playhouse to Be Let (c. August, 
1663),* which is the first to borrow from him. In the same year 
John Dryden staged The Wild Gallant, the first play of Res- 
toration times to suggest the later comedy of manners; it owes 
nothing to Moliere. Like The Wild Gallant in its combination 
of traditional material with contemporary realism is The Cheats 
(March, 1663). With this play was launched the career of John 
Wilson, who made a reputation as a Restoration follower of 
Jonson and a builder of plays on the pattern of the pre-Restora- 
tion successes seen in revival. 5 In all, this fourth year gave the 
theatre eight comedies. Borrowing from Moliere makes its first 
appearance on the Restoration stage, but his influence is micro- 

During the next three and one-half years a dozen more new 
comedies were produced before Dryden's Sir Martin Mar-All 
(August, 1667), the second Restoration adaptation of Moliere. 
Several of the intervening plays had distinct successes at the time, 
and Sir George Etherege's The Comical Revenge (March, 1664) 
is one of the more notable plays of the whole period. Killigrew's 

8 "Political Plays of the Restoration." 

4 The staging of this play has long been assigned to 1662, which date will be found 
in nearly all references. The second edition of NicolPs Restoration Drama gives the date 
found above. 

6 His second comedy, The Projectors (probably unacted, printed 1665), has been need- 
lessly referred to L'Avare, when the common source, the Aululana of Plautus, is an 
adequate explanation of the resemblance. Charlanne (L'lnfluence jrangaise en Angleterre 
au xtni 9 siccle, pp. 287-88) is the most notable defender of the possibility that Wilson 
knew L'Avare. To believe this, one must accept the heresy, started by a probable slip 
of Gnmarest, that UAvare had an unrecorded presentation years before 1668, the date 
which the accurate La Grange recorded. Then one must believe further that Wilson 
made an unknown visit to Paris and attended this obscure performance. I hold with 
Ward and Nicoll that the likeness is not a borrowing. See Despois-Mesnard, ed., 
Oeuvres de Moliere t VII, i-u, for details of date of L'Avare. 


The Parson's Wedding (October, 1664) * s a revival, with altera- 
tions, of his own pre-Restoration play acted in 1640. Its satiric 
ribaldry makes an interesting and convincing link between the 
indecency of Brome's time and that of the days of Ravenscroft 
and Mrs. Behn. John Lacy's The Old Troup, or Monsieur Raggou 
(c. 1665) recalls with rough comic effect the sickening memories 
of soldiering during the days of the Civil Wars. 

One might easily believe that the great profit of Dryden with 
Sir Martin Mar-All created a momentary confidence in Moliere 
as the source of success, for half the comedies of the next year, 
1668, followed Dryden's example. The year was otherwise a 
notable one in the advance of Restoration comedy. In February 
Etherege's second play, She Would If She Could, was mangled 
by bad acting and suffered a failure that was undeserved, for 
later history accords it the rank of the most distinguished comedy 
of the year, or of the decade. It is the only good play of the year 
that does not owe something to Moliere. In May Sir Charles 
Sedley scored with The Mulberry Garden, and Thomas Shadwell 
made his debut with The Sullen Lovers, or the Impertinents. In 
June Dryden presented An Evening's Love, or the Moc\ As- 
trologer. Then in September Richard Flecknoe secured a hearing 
for The Damoiselles a la Mode, which he had printed the year 
before. All four of these levied upon Moliere. Flecknoe drew 
most heavily and gained the least, simply because he was incom- 
petent. Shadwell owed much of his success to Moliere; Dryden 
and Sedley, very little. Four negligible minor plays took nothing 
from him. The movement to plunder him, if it can be called such, 
continued through the next two years, 1669 and 1670, for every 
important play that appeared, except ShadwelFs The Humorists, 
depended upon Moliere for the main plot and the bulk of the 
matter. The three adaptations, Caryl's Sir Salomon, Lacy's The 
Dumb Lady, and Medbourne's Tartuffe, would be nothing at 
all without the borrowings, and Betterton's The Amorous Widow 


borrowed all of the subplot. Medbourne's Tartufe is, moreover, 
the first attempt to grasp the serious side of Moliere and import 
it to England entire. 

Perhaps we are now in a position to survey the influence of 
Moliere on the first decade. In so far as they used him, the actor 
playwrights, D'Avenant, Lacy, Betterton, and Medbourne, com- 
plete their careers at this time. The history of Restoration comedy 
puts them in the class of unimportant writers; although the first 
one named has a larger place in dramatic history, his borrowing 
in The Playhouse to Be Let had no discernible influence on any 
one. Flecknoe, Caryl, and Sedley, who also come before us for 
parting consideration, were men of wide acquaintance and in- 
fluence in higher social circles, especially Sedley. Flecknoe tended 
to familiarize London with matter from Moliere; and some 
echoes of intrigue and comic incident from L'ficole des maris 
and Les Predeuses ridicules may derive from him, although the 
success of The Damoiselles a la Mode must have been slight, for 
Langbaine thought it had never been acted. 8 It would not be a 
stimulating example, therefore, for others. John Caryl joined 
Dryden, Shadwell, and Lacy, in the use of Moliere's theatrical 
effectiveness to make a successful play. Whatever skill he seemed 
to show in plotting a comedy, and whatever influence that ap- 
pearance of skill exerted, really belongs to Moliere. The most 
prominent of this group socially and in Restoration life this 
could easily mean theatrically was Sir Charles Sedley. His repu- 
tation for wit was peerless. His play, The Mulberry Garden, 
was a great success and very influential in establishing the taste 
for a comedy of manners, but his debt to Moliere was too slight, 
a mere detail of plot structure, for any of his influence to be 
credited to the latter. 

Since the careers of Dryden and Shadwell continue through 
the next two decades, an attempt to consider their whole influ- 

6 Account of the English Dramatic^ Poets, pp. 199-201. 


ence would be premature at this stage, but their example so far 
would indicate that Moliere was a good source of plot material; 
it would show little more. Both of these Englishmen were far 
more influential through their example of combining pre-Restora- 
tion dramatic modes with post-Restoration social attitudes. They 
were thus very important in setting the pattern for an indigenous 
comedy in which foreign elements were so thoroughly assimilated 
as to be inconspicuous even when visMe. 

A list of significant plays of the first decade, aside from Eth- 
erege's masterly contribution to the comedy of manners, would 
contain a fair number of plays with a touch of Moliere in them. 
Aside from Medbourne's Tartuffe and The Sullen Lovers of 
Shadwell, which caught something of the spirit and much of 
the external form of what is a peculiarly structureless play with- 
out later influence aside from these, Moliere did not affect the 
spirit of his borrowers. The spirit of the age in England de- 
manded a witty, gay, anti-moral comedy of manners. This 
started in The Wild Gdlant, gained tremendous impetus from 
The Corniced Revenge, and reached its finest expression in She 
Would If She Could. Sir Martin Mar-All, The Sullen Lovers, 
The Mulberry Garden, An Evening's Love, and The Humorists 
are approximately alike in drawing toward the same dramatic 
genre. 7 There are no discernible borrowings from Moliere in this 
comic spirit. 8 On the contrary, Dryden's The Wild Gallant, 

7 1 do not mean to imply that they drew exclusively toward the comedy of manners, 
for they were all of mixed character. The intrigue of An Evemng's Love is outside the 
type of play we call a comedy of manners, and of course The Humorists is not entirely 
in this vein, for the influence of Jonson, usually potent with Shadwell, brought a certain 
satire, a moral earnestness, foreign to the tone of a comedy of manners. 

8 As it is usually defined, the comedy of manners of England is something remote from 
Moliere's art. For example, observe how applicable this description of the comedy of 
mannas is to Congreve and how inapplicable to Moliere: "In the main, we may say, 
the invariable elements of the comedy of manners are the presence of at least one pair 
of witty lovers, the woman as emancipated as the man, their dialogue free and graceful, 
an air of refined cynicism over the whole production, the plot of less consequence than 
the wit, an absence of crude realism, a total lack of any emotion whatsoever" (Nicoll, 
Restoration Drama, p. 185). 


Etherege's The Comical Revenge and She Would If She Could, 
Killigrew's The Parson's Wedding, Howard's The English Mon- 
sieur and All Mistaken, or the Mad Couple, Newcastle's The 
Humorous Lovers, and Shadwell's The Humorists would form 
a contemporary list about which one could truthfully say the 
following: (i) they are based upon Elizabethan, Jacobean, and 
Caroline elements in spirit, matter, and form; (2) they anticipate 
later Restoration comedy of manners better than the plays con- 
taining borrowings from Moliere; and (3) they contain nothing 
from Moliere, directly or indirectly. 

About forty new comedies were staged in England during this 
decade, 1660-1670. Of these, ten show borrowings from Moliere. 
Six of the ten may be described as servile adaptations by neg- 
ligible playwrights, The Playhouse to Be Let, The Damoiselles h 
la Mode, The Dumb Lady, Sir Salomon, The Amorous Widow, 
and Tartuffe. Two others, The Mulberry Garden and An Eve- 
ning's Love, borrowed a few details only. The remaining two, 
Sir Martin Mar-All and The Sullen Lovers, are more important. 
Moliere provided the basic idea of their plots and some of the 
incidents. This might have been more influential on dramatic 
form, if the two plays used had not been his poorest structurally, 
so poor that Dryden and Shadwell were both able to bind their 
plots more firmly than he had done. 

So far, then, Englishmen have turned readily to Moliere for 
help in their dramatic problems, but the results cannot be said 
to have brought an appreciable amount of his spirit or of his 
form to England. Meanwhile English plays are showing a con- 
stant trend in the direction of the artificial comedy of manners. 


In sharp contrast with the year 1670, whose three comedies 
were all based on Moliere, was the year 1671, which saw the birth 
of seven new comedies, not one of which drew on him for any- 


thing. Three of them deserve brief mention here, because of their 
oblique relation to the present problem. Mrs. Aphra Behn brought 
out her first comedy, 9 The Amorous Prince, or the Curious Hus- 
band (c. May, 1671)5 without using the works of the French 
master, although she borrowed from him later in her career. 
The greatest success of the year, The Rehearsal (December, 
i67i), 10 by George Villiers, Duke of Buckingham, shows how 
completely independent the English stage could be from Moliere, 
even in its most satiric moments. Its superficial similarity to 
Ulmpromptu de Versailles, in employing a stage as the scene 
and dramatic criticism as its subject matter, has prompted only 
the most idolatrous discoverers of "influence" to trace its origin 
to France. 11 

The seven new plays of 1672 include several that bear a con- 
siderable relation to Moliere. Edward Ravenscroft produced the 
first in his long series of dramatic thefts, which had great popu- 
larity and little lasting merit. His Mamamouchi, or the Citizen 
Turned Gentleman (July, 1672) mangles two of Moliere's mas- 
terpieces. Shadwell, likewise, drew heavily for The Miser, but 
the result is adapted to the tone of the Restoration. The impor- 
tant plays of the year are ShadwelFs Epsom Wells, Dryden's 
Marriage a la Mode, and Wycherley's The Gentleman Dancing 
Master. Aside from two possible borrowings, these owe nothing 
to Moliere. 

9 Her one previous play, The Forced Marriage, or the Jealous Bridegroom (December, 
1670), is a tragicomedy (Nicoll, op. at , p. 352). 

10 It was also in great demand in printed form. Nicoll (ibid., p. 375) mentions six 
printings before 1700 and six more by 1775. 

11 Gillet (Uohere en Angletcrre, p. 30) speculates as follows- "Mais pourquoi songer 
a Shakespeare, alors qu'il cst possible que Davenant connut I'lmpromptu de Versailles 
(u October 1663), qui presente avec le premier acte de The Playhouse to be let une 
analogic technique frappante? L'lmpromptu, qui, lui aussi, montre un theatre vu des 
coulisses, pourrait tres bien servir aux memes fins que Introduction dc la piece de 
Davenant. Plus tard, en 1671, nous retrouvons le mme precede dans The Rehearsal du 
due de Buckingham qui, vraisemblablement Femprunta i Davenant" The logical prin- 
ciple seems to be, "if it is possible to believe, it is true." Note that D'Avenant's play 
appeared before Moliere's. 


Dramatic productivity fell off in 1673 and 1674 in quantity, 
in quality, and in the proportion of borrowing from Moliere. The 
Duke of Newcastle's The Triumphant Widow, or The Medley 
of Humours (November, 1674) is the only one to win even 
one sentence of mention in Ward's English Dramatic Literature. 
Ravenscroft's The Careless Lovers (March, 1673) alone borrows 
from the Frenchman, and it is derived largely from other sources. 
Most of the half dozen plays of 1675 are no better; but a year 
that produces The Country Wife is a great year. ShadwelFs The 
Libertine is the only other play to have even an oblique relation 
to Moliere. 

The year 1676 was a notable one for the theatre. Eleven new 
plays were staged, two of which, Etherege's The Man of Mode, 
or Sir Fophng Flutter (March, 1676) and Wycherley's The Plain 
Dealer (December, 1676) are among the greatest comedies of 
the entire Restoration period. Thomas D'Urfey entered the field 
of comedy for the first time, placing three of his twenty popular 
comedies on the stage in six months. On the whole Moliere 
played an important, but not dominating, role, being employed 
in several of these eleven plays. In one of them, The Man of 
Mode, the debt is not certain. In two of them, The Country Wit 
and Tom Essence, there is definite borrowing without de- 
pendence; in The Cheats of Scapin there is complete dependence 
without excellence, but in The Plain Dealer there is as important 
an influence of Moliere as in almost any Restoration play. 

Since this is the time when Wycherley brought his dilettante 
career as a playwright to an untimely close and when easy Eth- 
erege made an equally needless end to another brilliant record, 
it is a good time to summarize once more. In his three plays, 
Etherege did not depend on Moliere for more than one comic 
incident, and this he may have invented for himself. Of the men 
less important in comedy, Shadwell, Dryden, and Crowne, the 
first used Moliere as the basis of one play, but this is outweighed 


by several better ones, notably Epsom Wells and The Virtuoso, 
in which Moliere had no part. Dryden made much less use of 
him than during the first decade. Crowne likewise was much 
more British than French in the choice of material. As these 
three, together with Ravenscroft and Otway, extended their ca- 
reers into the next period, we may well postpone a summary of 
their works until they may be considered in their entirety. Raw- 
lins' one feeble effort to adapt a farce was too slight for serious 
evaluation. Ravenscroft showed that Moliere is a good source for 
uninspired hacks to copy. Otway demonstrated the possibility of 
a careful and close adaptation. In the six years, 1671-76, thirty- 
eight new comedies were staged. Several important writers ap- 
peared for the first time, Aphra Behn, John Crowne, Thomas 
D'Urfey, Thomas Otway, Edward Ravenscroft, George Villiers, 
and William Wycherley. John Dryden, Sir George Etherege, and 
Thomas Shadwell continued from the preceding decade. Of the 
thirty-eight plays, twelve show some degree of borrowing from 
Moliere. Among these twelve, one great play derives its spirit 
from him, and a second one can be so described, with reserva- 
tions, Wycherley's Country Wife and Plain Dealer respectively. 
Two of them, Otway's Cheats of Scapin and Ravenscroft's 
Marnamouchi, are wholesale adaptations of his materials, made 
unimportant only by the low degree of competence of the adapt- 
ers. One, Shadwell's Miser, is an interesting and extensive bor- 
rowing of matter by an influential playwright. Two more, 
Crowne's Country Wit and Rawlins' Tom Essence, show con- 
siderable borrowing by lesser men of farcical matter for secondary 
plots. The remaining plays, Dryden's Marriage a la Mode and 
The Assignation, Etherege's The Man of Mode, Ravenscroft's 
The Careless Lovers, and Wycherley's The Gentleman Dancing 
Master, contain, at the most, some possible traces of the French- 
man's matter. At least four of the twenty-six plays unrelated to 
Moliere belong on any list of the outstanding comedies of the 


period, ShadwelTs Epsom Wells and The Virtuoso, Villiers' The 
Rehearsed, and Wycherley's Love in a Wood. With the very 
memorable exception of Wycherley's last two plays, the use of 
Moliere was less significant than during the first decade, and less 
frequent attempts were made to naturalize him in England. 


After the year 1676 there was a steady decline in the proportion 
of borrowings and in their significance in the stream of English 
comic production. As we have just noted, in the ten years from 
Sir Martin Mar-All to The Plain Dealer, twelve adaptations were 
made, some by as important men as Dryden, Sedley, Shadwell, 
and Wycherley. Five other plays definitely borrowed from 
Moliere, and an additional five may have done so. By contrast, 
in the quarter century from The Plain Dealer to The Way of the 
World, the number of adaptations fell to three, all made by the 
minor writers, Ravenscroft, Mrs. Behn, and Thomas Wright. 
Nine other plays show borrowing and three more are on the 
doubtful list. 12 From Wycherley to Congreve the stream of plays 
flowed at less than the average rate and lacked superiority, for 
none rose above the usual level of Dryden and Shadwell. The 
plays of Ravenscroft, Mrs. Behn, and Thomas D'Urfey appear 
oftenest in the list. The borrowings from Moliere, which turn up 
in scattered comedies, are nearly always in the form of incidental 
passages taken out of plays that had been plundered before. 
Lacking formative character, such passages indicate not a great 
influence by Moliere, but a wide acquaintance of Restoration 

12 This gives us in tabular form: 

Total Number Number Number Number 

of Comedies Adapting Borrowing Possibly 

in List Moliere from Moliere Borrowing 

1660-1666 24 i o o 

1667-1676 61 12 5 5 

1676-1700 115 3 9 3 

Total 199 16 14 8 


playwrights with his works and a readiness to use what came 
handy. About one play in ten bears some trace of him, but only 
one in forty can be called an adaptation. The year-by-year con- 
sideration is no longer of any use, for these few generalizations 
cover all the pertinent facts. With the appearance of Congreve 
in 1693, of Vanbrugh in 1696, and of Farquhar in 1698, great 
comedy came back to the English stage, but a traceable factor 
of influence from Moliere had disappeared. 


IN SUMMING UP the case of the relation of Moliere to Res- 
toration comedy, we need to remind ourselves again that 
sound conclusions about influences must be based upon estab- 
lished borrowings, i.e., resemblances which can be explained best 
by the later author's acquaintance with the earlier. Anything less 
rigid may turn out to be merely conjecture, or even wishful 
thinking. We need to recall once more the cautious consideration 
that vague analogues between the work of Moliere and Res- 
toration playwrights must not be credited to the Frenchman 
when native dramatic tradition or the original genius of the 
English author is fully adequate to account for what we find. 1 
Prototypes of the comedy of manners appeared in England 
before the end of the sixteenth century. For the last hundred 
years the yeast of Renaissance ideas of social life had worked 
steadily and had given the upper classes a commonly accepted 
mass of social doctrine. By 1600 manners had crystallized suf- 
ficiently for intelligent people to find amusement in the contrasts 
between the social elect and the ridiculous aspirants and pre- 
tenders to social acceptance. Realistic social comedy probably 
received an early impetus from the decision of James Burbage to 
open a theatre in Blackfriars in 1596, for here, at the center of 
fashionable life, troops of boys and, after 1608, the King's Men, 
most regularly found a public receptive to the comic treatment 
of manners, A realistic social comedy will arise when playwrights 
with a bent for realism and a flair for ridicule have audiences 

1 For an early insistence on adherence to the principle implied, see Lanson, "Etudes 
sur les rapports de la htterature fran^aise," p. 47. 


that, with a contented sense of their own social or intellectual 
superiority, can laugh together at the sorry efforts of their infe- 
riors to clamber up the social scale. 

Of course the primary force in the comedy of manners in 
England was the nature and genius of Ben Jonson, whose sturdy 
intellectuality pulled him steadily away from the romantic fash- 
ion, with, its emotional and verbal exuberances, into the ways 
of social common sense. The influence of the selected audience 
was doubtless exerted "through support, for it is not hard to be- 
lieve that without a favorable reception the social comedy of 
Jonson would have been stillborn; whereas, obviously, it grew 
up with Fletcher's. Both children lived to have numerous prog- 
eny, not a few of whom resulted from crossbreeding be- 
tween the two strains. 2 The growth of interest in social satire 
was fortuitously aided by the gathering storms of civil war, for 
all theatres naturally became more completely Cavalier in spirit 
as the soberer citizens withdrew their support in a Puritanical 
huff. This defection left an audience glad to ridicule the manners 
of those who had so emphatically excluded themselves. Most 
playwrights are ready to flatter the prejudices of the consistent 
playgoers and to be callous about the feelings of those who 
never enter a theatre. 

When Charles II was restored in 1660, the theatres hastily 
opened their doors under royal encouragement, after eighteen 
years of darkness or intermittent furtiveness. More than ever 
before were audiences composed of the courtier group; the mid- 
dle class ceased to attend as a recognized constituency. Pepys, 
for example, had the theatrical taste and interests of Sedley and 
Rochester, although he was thoroughly middle-class in origin. 
The managers found almost instantly that romantic comedy, 
like Twelfth Night or a Midsummer Night's Dream, did not 

2 The eclecticism of the "Sons of Ben" has been treated in detail by Davis, "The 
'Sons of Ben' in English Realistic Comedy." See pp. 783-93 for summary. 


appeal, but that the satiric comedies of Jonson and his numerous 
prewar followers were readily applauded. 3 For three years the 
Restoration stage thrived on comedies selected from the old 
repertoire, none of the six new plays presented having any notable 
success. Applause came readily to the plays of Middleton, Shirley, 
Brome, Jonson, Fletcher, and lesser men of the Cavalier days. 
Such circumstances would constitute an overwhelming influence 
on coming playwrights; thus it is not a matter for surprise that 
Restoration comedy is a continuation of pre-Restoration. The 
surprising thing is that the world has so lately observed this 
patent fact. 

To a Victorian mind, Restoration comedy is notable primarily 
for its indecency. 4 A chronological reading of the important real- 
istic comedies from 1600 to 1642 would show a steady trend 
toward verbal bluntness, sexual innuendo for the fun of it, wit 
and rakishness as the essence of a gentleman's career, and witty 
daring in approved young ladies. Contempt grows for all sorts 
of pretenders, for country life with its antiquated manners, and 
for middle-class life with its peculiar virtues and defects. The 
association without disapproval of gallants with whores, the final 
seeking of marriage as a bitter remedy for a sick purse, the as- 
sumption that all business men were deservedly cuckolds, the 
presentation of old women ridiculous because they could not 
capture the lovers they pursued, all these elements of comedy 
after 1660 can be found in comedies before 1642. 

To a mind free from moral concerns and congenial to the 
comic spirit, Restoration comedy is notable primarily for its 
unemotional observation of the ludicrous in life. Its point of view 
is that of the sensual, witty, fashionable, disillusioned courtiers, 
who repress nothing except impulses to be sober, continent, or 
useful. According to their code, nonchalance is the chief virtue; 

3 Nicoll, Restoration Drama, pp. 168-70. 

4 For example, Macaulay, in his review of Hunt's edition of Wycherley, Congreve, 
Vanbrugh, and Farquhar, Miscellaneous Works of Lord Macaulay, Vol. V. 


unconsciously it is their chief affectation. But even this absurd 
code and this affectation are clearly outlined in Fletcher's The 
Wild Goose Chase (c. 1621). Jonson, Shirley, and Brome also 
revealed, at times, a similar unmoral objectivity in portraying 
the follies and foibles of social pretenders, rakish gallants, and 
witty women; and so we find anticipation of the comic spirit of 
the Restoration comedy in English plays any time after 1600. 

Now, everyone agrees, Moliere's work exhibits an entirely dif- 
ferent spirit. His attitude toward life is readily explained by a 
simple re-listing of those well-known details of his life that fitted 
him to write and produce his plays. Born fairly high in the 
Parisian bourgeoisie, with access to the court of the king as a 
family right, he had a sound classical education, some schooling 
in law, and private lessons in philosophy. As a young actor, he 
spent twelve years trouping to all corners of France, developing 
his ability as a comic actor, creating a personal company to write 
for, studying drama in the theatre, testing his own writings in 
the alembic of provincial audiences, making those acute observa- 
tions of his fellow men that lie at the heart of his best comedy, 
and probably passing many lonely hours in wide but unpedantic 
reading. Thus he freed himself from the extreme provincialism 
of Paris, of the court, of the theatre, and of the pedants. His 
return to Paris during his thirty-sixth year found him ready for 
success and intelligently confident of his powers. 

Nothing ever turned Moliere entirely away from the general 
point of view of the middle-class Parisian. His indifference to 
religion, his acceptance of the common judgment of men as his 
standard, his lack of impractical idealism in art, morals, or things 
intellectual, and his attacks on extremes of any sort all reflect 
his origin and his experience, and are the basis of his greatness 
as well as his lasting popularity. He never advances any other 
reason for doing a good thing than practical advantage in a 
social world. To him good social sense is virtue. He counsels no 


higher morality than prudence in the light of general experi- 
ence. He feels a real vocation to preach the gospel of good sense, 
and attacks eccentricities, rather than vices. Like Jonson, he 
would "sport with human follies, not with crimes," and like all 
true satirists, he is impelled by a sardonic cruelty toward the 
foolish and the mischievous. 

Like Shakespeare, Moliere was always the showman. As such, 
he accepted the pragmatic doctrine that the purpose of a play 
was to please and that the test of its virtue was the money it 
earned. Here was no art for art's sake; here was no writing to 
please a coterie of esoteric critics. Senecan models and Aris- 
totelian rules were passed over for practical issues. No melange 
dcs genres, for example, could be more absurd than the corntdie- 
bdlets, which he uncomplainingly developed to please the king, 
and which are but bastard mixtures of opera, ballet, and play; 
but his genius fused the mixtures into a new artistic form, in 
which he burlesqued follies and satirized them on gayer and 
more extravagant heights of absurdity than any one had ever 
reached before. Follies he could pursue relentlessly, even his own. 
His highest art developed out of his instinct for all aspects of a 
play, the prejudices of the audience, the personalities of his actors, 
the effects of actions as well as words in drama. His willingness 
to make himself a motley to the view brought him no regrets, 
for he apparently arranged to make his own exit from life with 
the ironic paint of the mdade imaginaire still on his face. 

His dramatic matter is compounded of classic materials, French 
domestic farces, commedia dell' arte, and current successes in 
Spain or Italy. In general his young men are sincere lovers seek- 
ing happy marriage, his young ladies desire virtuous love in 
marriage, his wives, except Angelique in George Dandin, are 
faithful, and his husbands are too busy fearing cuckoldom to be 
disloyal. Sex morality is conventional, and it is not subject to 
the dramatist's ridicule. About one-fourth of his plays show a 


man ridiculously fearful of discovering that his wife is unfaith- 
ful. Aside from passing remarks about doctors, he makes four 
or five different plays turn directly on the ridicule of the medical 
profession. Social ambition is touched several times; avarice, 
social hypocrisy in the court, blunt speaking, piety as a cloak 
for selfishness, repression as a way to develop virtue all meet 
his attacks; types of bores, and literary and philosophical pedants 
are victims of his mordant satire. How different all this is from 
the seventeenth-century English comedy of manners, in form, 
in spirit, in matter! 

From Moliere's dramatic form, according to the data accumu- 
lated in foregoing chapters, Restoration playwrights made almost 
no recognizable borrowings. Dryden, D'Avenant, Shadwell, and 
Langbaine all expressed adverse opinions of the French methods; 
there is no reason to believe that the prevailing Restoration opin- 
ion of comic drama included the idea that Moliere was a better 
judge of dramatic form than his English contemporaries, or that 
English form was in need of improvement. Self-complacence is 
written all over the Restoration period. In the observation of 
form, many parallels in method of exposition, of plotting, and of 
the management of dialogue can be cited, of course, between 
Moliere's plays and Restoration drama; but when one undertakes 
to prove that they must have come from the French master, the 
whole structure crumbles away. Only one plausible example was 
found in this entire study, a detail in Bury Fair that seems to be 
an instance of borrowing the method of balance of characters. 
Restoration London was not converted to the ways of the French 
theatre enough to destroy the continuity from pre-Restoration to 
post-Restoration plays. Neither the Elizabethan standard of a 
five-act play, for example, nor the Jonsonian-Fletcherian custom 
of a complicated intrigue showed signs of disintegration before 
1700. If Moliere affected form in the Restoration, it must have 
been only in such close combination with Elizabethan practices 


that his influence cannot be distinguished. Even farcical effects, 
at which Moliere was a master, are largely developed in Eng- 
lish plays from the convenient presence of "humor" characters, 
whose individual idiosyncrasies motivate any desired absurdity. 

On the side of spirit, Moliere's influence is very considerable 
in Wycherley's last two plays and clearly evident in ShadwelPs 
Bury Fair. But these plays cease to be typically Restoration in 
spirit at the point where this influence turns them back toward 
ethical satire, the one important aspect of Jonson's comedies 
which later experience taught the seventeenth century to avoid. 5 
Thus Moliere's social wisdom and great common sense were very 
generally ignored by Restoration playwrights. Wycherley, Shad- 
well, and Congreve alone wrote with even a tinge of ethical 
satire. All three were familiar with Jonson's call to preach the 
gospel of good sense and with Moliere's. One of them, Con- 
greve, probably learned much more from Wycherley than from 
either Moliere or Jonson. But all the seriousness found in Res- 
toration comedies, if it had come entirely from Moliere, would 
constitute an almost negligible aspect. Within the limits of com- 
edy, the spirit of the Restoration could hardly have been further 
from the essential Moliere, 

Under the heading of matter, then, come most of the English 
borrowings from Moliere during the Restoration. He was a fre- 
quent source of farcical action, amusing character, or comic inci- 
dent, being so used in about one new play out of ten during 
the forty years under consideration. The material borrowed is so 
disproportionately farcical, in comparison with Moliere's total 
production, that we may be sure it was this unimportant expres- 
sion of his genius that the Restoration envied. Not one of his 

5 See Davis (op. cit. f pp. 923-40) for a summarized account of the decline of 
ethical satire Caroline experience proved Jonsoman ethical matter essentially undra- 
matic and, salvaging the use of psychological bias as an adjunct to farce, dropped 
the rest of it for social satire and farce-mtngue. Davis finds that, until the end of the 
century, this experience was one of the most potent influences in shaping the course 
of comedy. 


serious comedies of character or of manners was given good 
translation and adequate staging during this time. The common 
practice was to distort Moliere's high comedies in the direction 
of low. The natural inference is that the Restoration was so 
greatly impressed by the career in the theatre of the living Moliere 
that it had not yet been sufficiently impressed with the greatness 
of his works. The evidence of the chronology of borrowing leads 
to this general conclusion. During the early years of the Restora- 
tion period, when Moliere's career was still in progress or a very 
vivid memory, 1667 to 1676, the attempts to transfer his success to 
the English stage were more numerous and were made by more 
important men. As time passed, the proportion of borrowings to 
the total production of the Restoration rapidly diminished. Aside 
from Bury Fair, all important use of Moliere was made by 1676, 
three years after his death. For his contemporaries in England, 
Moliere was a rich mine of theatrical tricks to which they were 
entitled by the immemorial custom that a theatrical effect, once 
exposed to the public gaze, becomes an addition to the raw mate- 
rial of every succeeding dramatist who is acquainted with it. 
The demand among playwrights for such elements of novelty 
with which to dress all the staples of the theatre never flags, be- 
cause conditions make innovations difficult. 6 To these very fac- 

6 Shaw points out the restraints as follows. "I do not select my methods: they are 
imposed upon me by a hundred considerations, by the physical conditions of theatrical 
representation, by the laws devised by the municipality to guard against fires and other 
accidents to which theaters are liable, by the economics of theatrical commerce, by the 
nature and limits of the art of acting, by the capacity of the spectators for under- 
standing what they see and hear, and by the accidental circumstances of the particular 
production in hand. 

"I have to think of my pocket, of the manager's pocket, of the actors' pockets, of 
the spectators* pockets, of how long people can be kept sitting in a theater without 
relief or refreshments, of the range of the performer's voice, and of the hearing and 
vision of the boy at the back of the gallery, whose right to be put in full possession 
of the play is as sacred as that of the millionaire in the stalls or boxes. 

"I have to consider theatrical rents, the rate of interest needed to tempt capitalists 
to face the risks of financing theaters, the extent to which the magic of art can break 
through commercial prudence, the limits set by honor and humanity to the tasks I 
may set to my fellow-artist, the actor: in short, all the factors that must be allowed 


tors Moliere's long theatrical training brought him a natural, 
almost instinctive consideration, just as a similar experience 
brought Shakespeare to a comparable integration of his literary 
art with theatrical necessities. None of the important playwrights 
of the Restoration had this professional experience. It is not sur- 
prising, therefore, that they should see Moliere as the source of 
practical effectiveness, that they should sift his plays for devices 
which promised to please audiences. They borrowed at will, 
generally grabbing detailed bits of situation, episodes, or piquant 
novelties of characterization, only occasionally picking up larger 
units or taking over plots entire. The results of that facile 
adapter and plagiarist, Edward Ravenscroft, are illustrative, 
though extreme. Making as extensive use of matter from Moliere 
as any of his fellows, Ravenscroft never reproduced any impor- 
tant aspect of his spirit, matter, or form. Moliere was a conven- 
ient source of good plots, nothing more. 

Playwrights of the Restoration, then, turned often to Moliere, 
and, whenever it might advantageously be done, borrowed from 
him freely; there is, however, no contradiction in the final deci- 
sion that, though his plays were often used, he made no signifi- 
cant contribution to the type of comedy we associate with the 
Restoration. This species of play grew in the rich soil of British 
social and dramatic conventions from seeds sown by Ben Jonson, 
who first in English dramatic history satirized the whimsies and 
caprices, the affectations and pretensions, of social incompetents. 
Concurrently, Beaumont and Fletcher brought to excellence a 
type of play characterized by playful antagonism between the 

for before the representation of a play on the stage becomes practicable or justifiable: 
factors which some never comprehend and which others integrate almost as uncon- 
sciously as they breathe, or digest their food. 

"It is these factors that dictate the playwright's methods, leaving him so little 
room for selection that there is not a pennyworth of difference between the methods 
of Sophocles or Shakespeare and those of the maker of the most ephemeral farce." 

From a letter written in 1902. A facsimile of this letter was printed in The New 
York Times, June 2, 1912. It is reprinted by Clark, European Theories of the Drama, 
P- 475- 


sexes expressed in amorous intrigue and enlivened by wit. The 
first comedy of manners appeared when James Shirley combined 
the comedy of Jonson with the comedy of Beaumont and Fletcher. 
Nearly all the minor dramatists of the Caroline period helped 
establish its dominance. With the opening of the theatres after 
the interval of the War and the Commonwealth, the same com- 
edy found ready and eager applause. The moral for playwrights 
was obvious. There was little need to experiment with importa- 
tions of the strange form and the stranger spirit of foreigners, 
even of the successful contemporary, Moliere. To benefit by his 
superior skill and experience in things theatrical, they waylaid 
him, and turned out his pockets to steal all his rare tricks of the 
stage; but they ignored his ideas and spirit as coin not readily 
current in the land of Charles and Nell. 


THE following tabulation is compiled primarily from the Chronologic 
Molieresque, by Monval and from the Catalogue of the Moliere Collection 
in the Harvard College Library, by Currier and Gay. The "number of edi- 
tions before 1700" is based solely on the above Catalogue, and consists 
mostly of collections containing the play under consideration. 

Title of Play 

La Jalousie du Barbouille 
Le Medecin volant 

(1" at Lyon, 1653) 
Le Depit amoureux 

(l re at Beziers, 1656) 
Les PrScieuses ridicules 

Sganarelle ou le cocu 

Don Garde de Navarre ou le 

prince jaloux 
L'Ecole des marts 

Les Fdcheux 

Uficole des fetnmes 

La Critique de fecole des 


No. of 



in or 



Kind of 















comedy of 






comedy of 






comedy of 

















comedy of 






comedy of 







comedy of 






comedy of 











No. of 



in or 



Kind of 




Title of Play 





L'lmpromptu de Versailles 


satire and 







Le Manage force 







La Princesse d'filide 







Le Tartuffe (first 3 acts given 

comedy of 







Don Juan ou le festin de pierre 

comedy of 






L' Amour medecin 







Le Misanthrope 

comedy of 






Le Medecin malgre lui 






Meltcerte (fragment) 








Pastorale comique (replaced 








Le Stcilien ou V amour peintre 







Ulmposteur (le Tartuffe) 







comedy of 






George Dandin ou le man con- 

comedy of 








comedy of 






Tartuffe (freed from restraints 

comedy of 


and given repeatedly) 





Monsieur de Pourceaugnac 









Title of Play 
Les Amants magnifiques 

Le Bourgeois Genttlhomme 


Les Fourberies de Scapin 
La Comtesse d'Escarbagnas 
Les Pemmes sav antes 
Le Malade imaginaire 


No. of 



in or 



Kind of 














comedy of 














comedy of 






comedy of 






comedy of 






comedy of 









THE plays in this list follow the valuable hand-list printed by Professor Al- 
lardyce Nicoll in his Restoration Drama, 1660-1700 (Second Edition, Cam- 
bridge, 1928.) The form of the tides and the dates in parentheses, which 
indicate the time of first performance, are based solely upon his authority. 
One play has been added which was unmentioned in the above source. 


Tatham, John, The Rump: or The Mirrour of The late Times, A New 

Comedy (June, 1660) 
Thomson, Thomas, The Life of Mother Shipton. A New Comedy. As 

it was Acted Nineteen dayes together with great Applause.... 




Cowley, Abraham, Cutter of Coleman-Street (Dec., 1661) 
Fountain, John, The Rewards of Vertue. (Not acted.) Printed 1661 


Codrington, Robert, Ignoramus (Nov., 1662) 

Howard, Sir Robert, The Committee (before Nov., 1662) 

- The Surprisal (Nov., 1662) 


D'Avenant, Sir William, The Play-House to be Lett (c. Aug., 1663) 
Digby, George, Earl of Bristol, Elvira: or, The worst not always true 

Dryden, John, The Wild Gallant (Feb., 1663) 
Porter, Thomas, The Carnival (c. 1663) 
Rhodes, Richard, Flora's Vagaries (Nov., 1663) 
Southland, Thomas, Love a la Mode (1663) 
Stapylton, Sir Robert, The Slighted Maid (Feb., 1663) 
Wilson, John, The Cheats (March, 1663) 


Anon., Knavery in all Trades: or, the Coffee-House. A Comedy As it 
was Acted in the Christmas Holidays by several Apprentices. Printed 

Gary, Henry, Viscount Falkland, The Manage Night (1664) 
D'Avenant, Sir William, The Rivals (before Sept., 1664) 
Etherege, Sir George, The Comical Revenge: or, Love in a Tub 

(March, 1664) 
Killigrew, Thomas, The Parson's Wedding (Oct., 1664) 


Bulteel, J., Amorous Orontus: or the Love in Fashion. Printed 1665 
Lacy, John, The Old Troop: or, Monsieur Raggou (c. 1665) 
Wilson, John, The Projectors. (Probably unacted.) Printed 1665 

Howard, Hon. James, The English Mounsieur (Dec., 1666) 



Bailey, Abraham, The Spightful Sister. A New Comedy. (Not acted.) 
Printed 1667 

Cavendish, William, Duke of Newcastle, The Humorous Lovers 
(March, 1667) 

D'Avenant, Sir William, and John Dryden, The Tempest, or, The En- 
chanted Island (Nov., 1667) 

Dryden, John, S r Martin Mar-all, or the Feign 9 d Innocence (Aug., 

Howard, Hon. James, All Mistaken, or the Mad Couple (Sept., 1667) 

Lacy, John, Sauny the Scott: or, The Taming of the Shrew (April, 

St Serfe, Sir Thomas, Tarugo's Wiles, or, the Coffee-House (Oct., 

Villiers, George, Duke of Buckingham, The Chances (Feb., 1667) 


Anon., The Feign'd Astrologer. (Acting uncertain.) Printed 1668 
D'Avenant, Sir William, The Man's the Master (March, 1668) 
Dryden, John, An Evening's Love, or the MocJ^ Astrologer (June, 1668) 
Etherege, Sir George, She wou'd if she cou'd (Feb., 1668) 
Flecknoe, Richard, The Damoiselles a la Mode (Sept., 1668) 
Jordan, Thomas, Money is an Asse* (Place of acting not known). 

Printed 1668 

Sedley, Sir Charles, The Mulberry-Garden (May, 1668) 
Shadwell, Thomas, The Sullen Lovers: Or, the Impertinents (May, 


Thomson, Thomas, The English Rogue ...As it was acted before sev- 
eral Persons of Honour with Great Applause. Printed 1668 


Boyle, Roger, Earl of Orrery, Guzman (April, 1669) 

Caryl, John, Sir Salomon; or, The Cautious Coxcomb (c. 1669) 

Lacy, John, The Dumb Lady, or, The Farrier Made Physician (1669) 


Betterton, Thomas, The Amorous Widow; or, the Wanton Wife (c. 


Medtaurne, Matthew, Tartuffe; or, The French Puritan (c. April, 

Shadwell, Thomas, The Humorists (c. Dec., 1670) 


Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Amorous Prince, or, The Curious Husband (c. 

May, 1671) 

Boyle, Roger, Earl of Orrery, Mr. Anthony. A Comedy (c. 1671) 
Corye, John, The Generous Enemies or The Ridiculous Lovers (c. 

Aug., 1671) 
Howard, Hon. Edward, The Six days Adventure, or the New Utopia 

(c. March, 1671) 
Revet, Edward, The Town-Shifts, or, the Suburb-Justice (c. April, 


Villiers, George, Duke of Buckingham, The Rehearsal (Dec., 1671) 
Wycherley, William, Love in a Wood, or, St. James's Par\ (c. April, 1671) 


Dryden, John, Marriage AJa-Mode (c. May, 1672) 

The Assignation: or, Love in a Nunnery (c. Nov., 1672) 

Payne, Nevil, The Morning Ramble, or, The Town-Humours (Nov., 


Ravenscroft, Edward, [Mamamouchi; or,] The Citizen turn'd Gentle- 
man (July, 1672) 
Shadwell, Thomas, The Miser (Jan., 1672) 

Epsom Wells (Dec., 1672) 

Wycherley, William, The Gentleman Dancing-Master (c. Jan., 1672) 


Arrowsmith, The Reformation (c. Sept., 1673). "Attributed to Arrow- 
smith by Langbaine." Nicoll 
Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Dutch Lover (Feb., 1673) 
Duflfett, Thomas, The Spanish Rogue (c. June, 1673) 
Ravenscroft, Edward, The Careless Lovers (March, 1673) 


Anon., The Mall: or the Modish Lovers (c. Jan., 1674) "Sometimes 

attributed to Dryden." Nicoll 
Anon., The Amorous Old-woman: or, 'Tis Well if it Tafe. A Comedy 


...By a Person of Honour (c. March, 1674) Reissued as The Fond 
Lady, 1684. "Sometimes attributed to Duffett." Nicoll 
Cavendish, William, Duke of Newcastle, The Triumphant Widow, 
or The Medley of Humours (Nov., 1674) 


Anon., The Woman turn'd Bully (c. July, 1675) 

Anon., The Mistaken Husband (c. Sept., 1675), "Attributed sometimes 

to Dryden; he was certainly responsible for one scene." Nicoll 
Belon, Peter, The Moc^-Duellist, or, The French Vallet (c. May, 1675). 

"Attributed to Belon by Langbaine." Nicoll 
Fane, Sir Francis, Love in the Dar\, or The Man of Business (May, 


Shadwell, Thomas, The Libertine (June, 1675) 
Wyeherley, William, The Country-Wife (Jan., 1675) 


Bchn, Mrs. Aphra, The Town-Fopp: or Sir Timothy Tawdrey (c. Sept., 

Crowne, John, The Countrey Wit (Jan., 1676) 

D'Urfey, Thomas, A Fond Husband: or, The Plotting Sisters (May, 

Madam Fickle: or the Witty False One (Nov., 1676) 

The Fool Turn'd Critic^ (Nov., 1676) 

Etherege, Sir George, The Man of Mode, or, S r Fopling Flutter 
(March, 1676) 

Otway, Thomas, Titus and Berenice. . . . With a Farce call'd the Cheats 
of Scapin (c. Dec., 1676) 

Ravenscroft, Edward, The Wrangling Lovers: or, The Invisible Mis- 
tress (c. Sept., 1676) 

Rawlins, Thomas, Tom Essence: or, The Modish Wife (c. Sept., 1676) 

Shadwell, Thomas, The Virtuoso (May, 1676) 

Wycherley, William, The Plain-Dealer- (Dec., 1676) 


Anon., The Counterfeit Bridegroom: or the Defeated Widow (c. Sept., 
1677). "Sometimes attributed to Betterton; an adaptation of Middle- 
ton's No Wit li\e a Woman's? Nicoll 


Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Debauchee: or, The Credulous Cuckold (c. 
Feb., 1677) 

The Rover: Or, The Banish't Cavaliers (March, 1677) 

Leanerd, John, The Country Innocence: or, The Chamber-Maid turn'd 

Quaker (c. April, 1677) 

Porter, Thomas, The French Conjurer (c. July, 1677) 
Ravenscroft, Edward, Scaramouch a Philosopher, Harlequin A School- 
Boy, Bravo, Merchant, and Magician. A Comedy After the Italian 
Manner (May, 1677) 

The English Lawyer (c. Dec., 1677) 

La Roche-Guilhen, Madame, Rare en Tout (May, 1677) 


Behn, Mrs. Aphra, Sir Patient Fancy (Jan., 1678) 

Dryden, John, The Kind Keeper; or, Mr. Umberham (March, 1678) 

D'Urfey, Thomas, Tric{ for Tric\: or, The Debauch'd Hypocrite (c. 

March, 1678) 

Squire Oldsapp: or, The Night-Adventurers (c. June, 1678) 

Howard, Hon. Edward, The Man of Newmarket (c. April, 1678) 
Leanerd, John, The Rambling Justice, or the Jealous Husbands (c. 

March, 1678) 

The Counterfeits (May, 1678) 

Otway, Thomas, Friendship in Fashion (Apr., 1678) 

Rawlins, Thomas, Tunbridge-Wells: or, A Day's Courtship (c. March, 

Shadwell, Thomas, A True Widow (c. March, 1678) 


Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Feign'd Curtizans, or, A Nights Intrigue (c. 

March, 1679) 
D'Urfey, Thomas, The Virtuous Wife; or, Good Luc{ at last (c. Sept., 


Maidwell, Laurence, The Loving Enemies (c. Oct., 1679) 
Shadwell, Thomas, The Woman-Captain (c. Sept., 1679) 


Anon., The Muse of New Market: or, Mirth and Drollery Being Three 
Farces Acted before the King and Court at New-Market; Viz. The 


Merry Milkmaid of Islington, or the Rambling Gallants defeated. 

Love lost in the Dar%, or the Drunken Couple. The Politic^ Whore 

or The Conceited Cuctyold. 1680. "The second play is a 'droll' made 

"from Massinger's The Guardian, and the third is condensed from 

Davenport's The City Night-Cap." Nicoll 

Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Second Part of The Rover (Feb. or April, 1680) 
Betterton, Thomas, The Revenge: or, A Match in Neu/gate (c. Aug., 

Dryden, John, The Spanish Fryar or, The Double Discovery (March, 

Otway, Thomas, The Souldiers Fortune (March, 1680) 


Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Roundheads or, The Good Old Cause (c. Dec., 

D'Urfey, Thomas, Sir Barnaby Whigg: or, No Wit li\e a Womans 

(c. Sept, 1681) 

Ravenscroft, Edward, The London Cuckolds (Nov., 1681) 
Shadwell, Thomas, The Lancashire Witches, and Tegue o Divelly The 

Irish Priest (c. Sept., 1681) 


Anon., Mr Turbulent: or, The Melanchollic'ks (c. Jan., 1682). Reissued 
as The Factious Citizen, or, The Melancholy Visioner, 1685 

Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The City-Heiress: or, Sir Timothy Treat-all (c. 
March, 1682) 

The False Count, or, A New Way to play an Old Game (c. 

Sept., 1682) 

D'Urfey, Thomas, The Royalist (Jan., 1682) 


Crowne, John, City Pohtiques (Jan., 1683) 

Otway, Thomas, The Atheist. Or, the Second Part of The Souldiers 

Fortune (c. Sept., 1683) 
Ravenscroft, Edward, Dame Dobson: or, The Cunning Woman (c. 

Sept., 1683) 


Anon., The Mistaken Beauty, or the Lyar (c. Sept., 1684). "Contem- 
porary chroniclers note an earlier edition of The Lyar in 1661; this 
Pepys had seen on Nov. 28, 1667." Nicoll 

Lacy, John, Sir Hercules Buffoon, or, The Poetical Squire (c. Sept., 

Tate, Nahum, A Du\e and No Du\e (Nov., 1684) 


Anon., The Rampant Alderman, or News from the Exchange, A Farce 

(Probably not acted.) Printed, 1685 

Crowne, John, Sir Courtly Nice: or, It Cannot Be (May, 1685) 
Tate, Nahum, Cuckolds-Haven: or, an Alderman No Conjurer, A 

Farce (c. May, 1685) 


Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The LucJ^ey Chance, or An Alderman's Bargain 

(c. April, 1686) 
Jevon, Thomas, The Devil of a Wife, or A Comical Transformation 

(March, 1686) 
Mountfort, William, The Life and Death of Doctor Faustus. Made into 

a Farce. . . . With the Humours of Harlequin and Scaramouche 

(c. 1686) 


Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Emperor of the Moon (c. March, 1687) 
Sedley, Sir Charles, Bellamira, or the Mistress (May, 1687) 


D'Urfey, Thomas, A Fool's Preferment, or, The Three Duties of Dun- 
stable (c. April, 1688) 
Shadwell, Thomas, The Squire of Alsatia (May, it 


Carlisle, James, The Fortune-Hunters: or, Two Fools well met 
(c. March, 1689) 


DTJrfey, Thomas, Love for Money: or, the Boarding School (c. Dec., 

Shadwell, Thomas, Bury Fair (c. April, 1689) 


Crowne, John, The English Frier: or, The Town Spares (c. March, 


Dryden, John, Amphitryon; or, The Two Soda's (April, 1690) 
Shadwell, Thomas, The Amorous Bigotte: with the Second Part of 

Tegue O Divelly (c. March, 1690) 

The Scowrers (c. Dec., 1690) 

Southerne, Thomas, Sir Anthony Love: or, The Rambling Lady (c. 

Dec., 1690) 


Mountfort, William, Greenwich Parf^ (c. June, 1691) 

Smyth, John, Win her and Ta\e her, or, Old Fools Will be Medling 

(1691). "It is possible that the play is by Underbill, who published 

it." Nicoll 
Southerne, Thomas, The Wives Excuse: or, Cuckolds ma\e themselves 

(Dec, 1691) 


Bourne, Reuben, The Contented Cuckold, or the Womans Advocate. 

(Not acted,) Printed, 1692 

D'Urfey, Thomas, The Marriage-Hater Match 'd (Jan., 1692) 
Shadwell, Thomas, The Volunteers: or The Stoc\ Jobbers (Nov., 1692) 

Congreve, William, The Old Batchelour (Jan, 1693) 

The Double Dealer (Oct., 1693) 

D*Urfey, Thomas, The Richmond Heiress: or, A Woman Once in the 

Right (c. Feb., 1693) 

Higden, Henry, The Wary Widdow: or, Sir Noisy Parrot (Feb., 1693) 
Powell, George, A Very Good Wife (March, 1693) 
Southerne, Thomas, The Maid's Last Prayer: or, Any, rather than Fail 

(Jan, 1693) 
Wright, Thomas, The Female Vertuoso's (April, 1693) 



Crowne, John, The Married Beau: or, The Curious Impertinent 

(c. Jan., 1694) 
D'Urfey, Thomas, The Comical History of Don Quixote (c. May, 

The Comical History of Don Quixote ... Part the Second 

(c. May, 1694) 
Ravenscroft, Edward, The Canterbury Guests; or, A Bargain Broken 

(Sept., 1694) 


Congreve, William, Love for Love (April, 1695) 

Dilke, Thomas, The Lover's Luc\ (c. Dec., 1695) 

Dryden, John Jnr., The Husband his Own Cuckold (1695) 

D'Urfey, Thomas, The Comical History of Don Quixote. The Third 

Part. With the Marriage of Mary the Buxome (c. Nov., 1695) 
Granville, George, Lord Lansdowne, The She-Gallants (c. Dec., 1695) 
Scott, Thomas, The Moc ^-Marriage (c. Oct., 1695) 


Anon., She Ventures, and He Wins. A Comedy (c. 1696), "The dedi- 
cation is signed Ariadne." Nicoll 

Behn, Mrs. Aphra, The Younger Brother: or, The Amorous Jilt 
(c. Dec., 1696) 

Gibber, Colley, Love's Last Shift; or, The Fool in Fashion (Jan., 1696) 

Woman's Wit: or, The Lady in Fashion (c. Dec., 1696) 

Doggett, Thomas, The Country-Wafc (c. May, 1696) 

Drake, Dr. James, The Sham Lawyer: or the Luc\y Extravagant 
(c. Sept., 1696) 

Harris, Joseph, The City Bride: or, The Merry Cuckold (c. Jan., 1696) 

Manley, Mrs., The Lost Lover; or the Jealous Husband (c. April, 1696) 

Motteux, Peter Anthony, Love's a Jest (c. Sept., 1696) 

Fix, Mrs. Mary, The Spanish Wives (c. Sept., 1696) 

Powell, George, The Cormsh Comedy (1696) 

Vanbrugh, Sir John, The Relapse: or, Virtue in Danger (Dec., 1696) 

Aesop (Part I, c. Dec., 1696) 



Dennis, John, A Plot, and No Plot (May, 1697) 

Dilke, Thomas, The City Lady: or, "Polly 'Reclaim' d (c. Jan., 1697) 

D'Urfey, Thomas, The Intrigues at Versailles: or, A Jilt in all Humours 

(c. Feb., 1697) 
Motteux, Peter Anthony, The Novelty. Every Act a Play. (c. June, 

Fix, Mrs. Mary, The Innocent Mistress (c. Sept., 1697) 

The Deceiver Deceived (c. Dec., 1697) 

Powell, George, The Imposture Defeated: or, A Tric\ to Cheat the 

Devil (c. Sept., 1697) 
Ravenscroft, Edward, The Anatomist: or, the Sham Doctor (c. March, 


Vanbrugh, Sir John, The ProvoJ(d Wife (May, 1697) 
Aesop (Part II, c. Dec., 1696) 

Anon., Feign' d Friendship: or The Mad Reformer (c. 1698) 

Dilke, Thomas, The Pretenders: or, The Town Unmasty (c. May, 

D'Urfey, Thomas, The Campaigners: or, The Pleasant Adventures at 
Brussels (c. Nov., 1698) 


Farquhar, George, Love and a Bottle (1699) 

- The Constant Couple or a Trip to the Jubilee (Nov., 1699) 

Gildon, Charles, Measure for Measure, or Beauty the Best Advocate 

(c. 1699) 
Harris, Joseph, Love's a Lottery, and a Woman the Prize. With a New 

Masque, cdVd Love and Riches Reconciled. (c. March, 1699) 
Penkethman, William, Love without Interest: or, The Man Too hard 

for the Master. Printed 1699. [Not in NicolL] 


Congreve, William, The Way of the World (March, 1700) 
Vanbrugh, Sir John, The Pilgrim (c. April, 1700) 


IN MAKING this study, I have regularly used the valuable collection of early 
editions preserved in the Rare Book Room of the Library of the University 
of Michigan. When citing specific passages, however, I have tried to use a 
sound modern edition likely to be available to the reader. A good many 
Restoration comedies have not been printed since their original vogue in the 
seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Among the authors without modern 
editions, except for an occasional reprint in a collection, are Betterton, Gib- 
ber, Cowley, Dilke, Duffet, D'Urfey, Gildon, Harris, the Howards, Lans- 
downe, Leanerd, Mrs. Manley, Motteux, Orrery, the Newcasdes, Payne, 
Mrs. Fix, Porter, Powell, Ravenscroft, Rawlins, Southerne, Stapylton, Thom- 
son, and Wright. Mention of the early editions is found in Allardyce Nicoll, 
A History of Restoration Comedy, 7660-1700, pp. 348-76. A selected list of 
modern editions follows. 
[Behn, Aphra], The Plays, Histories, and Novels of the Ingenious Mrs. 

Aphra Behn. With Life and Memoirs. 6 vols., London, J. Pearson, 

The WorJ(s of Aphra Behn. Ed. by Montague Summers. 6 vols., 

London, W. Heinemann, 1915. 
Bristol, George Digby, earl of, Elvira: or, The Worst Not Always True. 

In A Select Collection of Old English Plays. Ed. by Robert Dodsley. 

4th ed., by W. C. Hazlitt, XV, 1-107. London, 187476. 
Buckingham, George Villiers, second duke of, The Rehearsal. "Arber's 

English Reprints," London, 1868. 

[Congreve, William], Comedies by William Congreve. Ed. with Intro- 
duction and Notes by Bonamy Dobree. London, Oxford University 

Press, 1925. 
William Congreve. Ed. by A. C. Ewald. "The Mermaid Series," 

London, 1887. 
The Worf(s of William Congreve. Ed, by Montague Summers. 

4 vols., Soho, The Nonesuch Press, 1923. 
[Crowne, John], The Dramatic Worlds of John Crowne. Ed. by [James 

Maidment and W. H. Logan]. 4 vols., Edinburgh and London, 1873. 


[D'Avenant, Sir William], The Dramatic Wor\s of Sir William 
D'Avenant. Ed. by [James Maidment and W. H. Logan]. 5 vols., 
Edinburgh, 1872-74. 

[Dryden, John], Dryden: The Dramatic Wor\s. Ed. by Montague 
Summers. 6 vols., London, The Nonesuch Press, 1931-32. 

John Dryden. Ed. by George Saintsbury. "The Mermaid Series," 

2 vols., London, [1904]. 

The Dramatic WorJ^s of John Dryden. With a Life of the Au- 
thor by Sir Walter Scott. Ed. by George Saintsbury. 8 vols., Edin- 
burgh, 1882. 

[Etherege, Sir George], The Dramatic Wor\s of Sir George Etherege. 
Ed. by H. F. Brett-Smith. 2 vols., Boston and Oxford, 1927. 

The Worlds of Sir George Etheredge. Plays and Poems. Ed. by 

A. Wilson Verity. London, 1888. 

Falkland, Henry Gary, fourth viscount, The Marriage Night. In A Se- 
lect Collection of Old English Plays. Ed. by Robert Dodsley. 4th ed., 
by W. C. Hazlitt, XV, 109-83. London, 1874-76. 

[Farquhar, George], The Complete Wor\s of George Farquhar. Ed. 
by Charles Stonehill. 2 vols., Bloomsbury, The Nonesuch Press, 1930. 

George Farquhar. Ed. by William Archer. "The Mermaid 

Series," London, [1907]. 

Howard, Hon. James, All Mistaken, or the Mad Couple. In A Select 
Collection of Old English Plays. Ed. by Robert Dodsley. 4th ed., by 
W. C. Hazlitt, XV, 321-97. London, 1874-76. 

[Howard, Sir Robert], Sir Robert Howard's Comedy, "The Commit- 
tee." Ed. with Introduction and Notes by Carryl Nelson Thurber. 
[Urbana], The University of Illinois, 1921. 

Killigrew, Thomas, The Parson's Wedding. In A Select Collection of 
Old English Plays. Ed. by Robert Dodsley. 4th ed., by W. C. Hazlitt, 
XIV, 369-535. London, 1874-76. 

[Lacy, John], The Dramatic Worths of John Lacy, Comedian, with 
Prefatory Memoir and Notes. Ed. by [James Maidment and W. H. 
Logan]. Edinburgh, 1875. 

[Moliere], Oeuvres de Molitre. Ed. by Eugene Despois and Paul Mes- 
nard. "Les Grands ficrivains de la France," 14 vols., Paris, Hachette, 

[Otway, Thomas], Thomas Otway. Ed. with Introduction and Notes 
by Hon. Roden Noel. "The Mermaid Series," London, 1888. 


Otway, Thomas, The Worths of Thomas Otway. Plays, Poems, and 

Love-Letters. Ed. by J. C. Ghosh. 2 vols., Oxford, At the Clarendon 

Press, 1932. 
Quinault, Philippe, L'Amant indiscret. In Victor FournePs Les Con- 

temporains de Mohere, I, 1-58. Paris, 1863. 
Ravenscroft, Edward, The London Cuckolds. In Restoration Comedies. 

Ed. by Montague Summers. Boston, Small Maynard and Co., 

[Sedley, Sir Charles], The Poetical and Dramatic Wor\s of Sir Charles 

Sedley. Ed. by V. de Sola Pinto. London, Constable and Company, 

Ltd., 1928. 
[Shadwell, Thomas], The Complete Worfc of Thomas Shadwell Ed. 

by Montague Summers. 5 vols., London, The Fortune Press, 1927. 
Tuke, Sir Samuel, The Adventure of Five Hours. In A Select Collec- 
tion of Old English Plays. Ed. by Robert Dodsley. 4th ed., by W. C. 

Hazhtt, XV, 185-320. London, 1874-76. 
[Vanbrugh, Sir John], The Complete Wor\s of Sir John Vanbrugh. 

Ed. by Bonamy Dobree. 4 vols., Bloomsbury, The Nonesuch Press, 


-Sir John Vanbrugh. Ed. by A. E. H. Swaen. "The Mermaid 

Series," London, 
[Wilson, John], The Dramatic Wor\s of John Wilson: with Prefatory 

Memoir, Introduction and Notes. Ed. by [James Maidment and 

W. H. Logan]. Edinburgh, 1874. 
[Wycherley, William], William Wycherley. Ed. by W. C. Ward. "The 

Mermaid Series," London, 1893. 
The Complete Worths of William Wycherley. Ed. by Montague 

Summers. 4 vols., Soho, The Nonesuch Press, 1924. 


THE borderline between comedy and other forms of dramatic and non-dra- 
matic literature is crossed many times in some of the works listed below. A 
few relate to the life of the time, and some to dramatic and literary history. 
All touch on comedy of the Restoration at some point. 

Albrecht, L., Dryden's Sir Martin Mar-all in Bezug auf seine Quellen. 

Dissertation, Rostock, 1906. 
Allen, Ned Bliss, The Sources of Dryden's Comedies. Ann Arbor, The 

University of Michigan Press, 1935. 


Bader, Arno L., "The Italian Comedia dell' Arte in England, 1660- 

1700." Unpublished dissertation, The University of Michigan, 1932. 
Baker, David Erskine, Companion to the Playhouse. 2 vok, London, 

Beljame, Alexandre, Le Public et les homines de lettres en Angleterre 

au dix-huitieme siZcle. Paris, 1883. 

Bennewitz, Alex., Molitre's Einftuss auf Congrevc. Leipzig, 1889. 
Bernbaum, Ernest, The Drama of Sensibility. Cambridge, Harvard 

University Press, 1925. 

Biographica Britannica, 6 vols, in 7. London, 1747-66. 
Borgman, A. S., Thomas Shadwell, His Life and Comedies. New York, 

The New York University Press, 1928. 

Cambridge History of English Literature, the. 14 vols., New York, Put- 
nam, 1907-17. 
Charlanne, Louis, L'Influence frangaise en Angleterre au xvii* sticle. 

Paris, 1906. 
Churchill, George B., The Country Wife and the Plain Dealer. "Belles 

Lettres Series," Boston, 1924. 
[Gibber, Colly], An Apology for the Life of Colley Gibber, Written by 

Himself. 2 vols., London, 1756. 
Gibber, Mr. [Theophilus], and Other Hands, The Lives of the Poets. 

5 vols., London, 1753. 
Clark, A. F. B., Boileati and the French Classical Critics in England 

(1660-1830). "Biblioteque de la revue de litterature comparee," tome 

XIX. Paris, 1925. 
Collier, Jeremy, A Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of 

the English Stage. London, 1698. 
Dametz, Max, John Vanbrughs Leben und Wer\e. "Wiener Beitrage 

zur Englischen Philologie," Band VII. Wien und Leipzig, 1892. 
Davis, Joe Lee, "The 'Sons of Ben' in English Realistic Comedy, 1625- 

1642." Unpublished dissertation, The University of Michigan, 1934. 
Dibdin, Charles A., Complete History of the English Stage. London, 

Dictionary of National Biography. Ed. by Leslie Stephen and Sidney 

Lee. 66 vols., London, 1885-1901. 

Dobree, Bonamy, Restoration Comedy, 7660-7720. Oxford, At the Clar- 
endon Press, 1924. 
Downes, John, Roscius Anglicanus. London, 1708. 


[Evelyn, John], Diary and Correspondence of John Evelyn, F.R.S. Ed. 
by William Bray. 4 vols., London, 1862-63. 

Ferchlandt, Hans, Mohere's Misanthrop und seine englischen Nachah- 
mungen. Halle a.S., 1907. 

[Fisher], Dorothea Frances Canfield, Corneitte and Racine in England. 
New York, 1904. 

Gardiner, Samuel R., History of England from the Accession of fames 
I to the Outbrea^ of the Civil War, 1603-1642. 10 vols., London, 

History of the Great Civil War, 1642-49. 3 vols., London, 1886-91. 

Garnett, Richard, and Edmund Gosse, An Illustrated History of Eng- 
lish Literature. 4 vols., New York, 1906. 

Gaw, Allison, "Tuke's Adventure of Five Hours in Relation to the 
'Spanish Plot* and to John Dryden." Studies in English Drama, Uni- 
versity of Pennsylvania, 1917. 

Genest, John, Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration 
in 1660 to 1830. 10 vols., Bath, 1832. 

Gildon, Charles, The Lives and Characters of the English Dramatic 
Poets. . . First begun by Mr. Langbain. London, [1698 or 1699]. 

Gillet, J, E., Moliere en Angleterre, 1660-7670. "Memoires de 1* Academic 
Royale de Belgique," deuxieme serie, tome IX. Bruxelles, 1913. 

Gosse, Sir Edmund, Life of William Congreve. Rev. ed., New York, 

Seventeenth Century Studies. London, 1883. 

"Sir George Etheredge. A Neglected Chapter of English Litera- 
ture." The Cornhill Magazine, XLIII (1881), 284-304. 

Hallam, Henry, Introduction to the Literature of Europe. 4 vols., Lon- 
don, 1837-39. 

Hartmann, Carl, Einfluss Molifre's auf Dryden 's fomisch-dramatische 
Dichtungen. Leipzig, 1885. 

Harvey-Jellie, W., Les Sources du thtdtre anglais a VSpoque de la res- 
tauration. Paris, 1906. 

Hazlitt, William, Lectures on the English Comic Writers. London, 

Heinemann, Georg, Shadwell-Studien. Kiel, 1907, 

Hickerson, William H., "The Significance of James Shirley's Realistic 
Plays in the History of English Comedy." Unpublished dissertation, 
The University of Michigan, 1932. 


Humbert, Claas, England* Urtheil fiber Moliere. Bielefeld u. Leipzig, 

Moliere in England. Bielefeld, 1874. 

Hunt, Leigh, The Dramatic Worf^s of Wycherley, Congreve, Vanbrugh 
and Farquhar. London, 1840. 

[Jacob, Giles], The Poetical Register, etc. 2 vok, London, 1723. 

Johnson, Samuel, Lives of the Poets. Ed. by Birkbeck Hill. 3 vols,, Ox- 
ford, 1905. 

Kerby, W. Moseley, Mohfre and the Restoration Comedy in England. 
Rennes dissertation, privately printed, 1907. 

Klette, Johannes, William Wycherley's Leben und dramatische Wer\e. 
Miinster, 1883. 

Krause, Hugo, Wycherley und seine franzosischen Quellen. Halle a.S., 

Krutch, Joseph Wood, Comedy and Conscience after the Restoration. 
New York, Columbia University Press, 1924. 

Langbaine, Gerard, An Account of the English Dramatic^ Poets. Ox- 
ford, 1691. 

Legouis, fimile H., and Louis Cazamian, A History of English Litera- 
ture. 2 vols., London, J. M. Dent and Sons, Ltd., 1926. 

Lohr, Anton, Richard Flectyioe: Sine literarhistorische Untersuchung. 
Leipzig, 1905. 

Lowe, Robert W., Thomas Betterton. New York, 1891. 

Lynch, Kathleen M., The Social Mode of Restoration Comedy. "Uni- 
versity of Michigan Publications, Language and Literature," Vol. Ill, 

Macaulay, T. B,, The History of England from the Accession of James 
the Second. 5 vols., London, 1849-61. 

"Leigh Hunt." In The Miscellaneous Worlds of Lord Macaulay, 

Vol. V. Philadelphia, 1910. 

Meindl, Vincenz, Sir George Etheredge, sein Leben, seine Zeit und 
seine Dramen. "Wiener Beitrage zur Englischen Philologie," Band 
XIV. Wien und Leipzig, 1901. 

Miles, D. H., The Influence of Moli&re on Restoration Comedy. New 
York, 1910. 

Mueschke, Paul, "Prototypes of Restoration Wits and Would-Bes in 
Ben Jonson's Realistic Comedy." Unpublished dissertation, The Uni- 
versity of Michigan, 1929. 


Mueschke, Paul, and Jeanette Fleischer, "A Re-Evaluation of Van- 
brugh." Publications of the Modern Language Association of Amer- 
ica, XLIX (1934), 848-89. 

Nicoll, Allardyce, A History of Restoration Drama, 1660-7700. 2d ed., 
Cambridge, 1928. 

"Political Plays of the Restoration." Modern Language Review, 

XVI (1921), 224-42. 

Noyes, Robert Gale, Ben Jonson on the English Stage, 1660-1776. Cam- 
bridge, Harvard University Press, 1935. 

Ott, Philipp, Vber das Verhaltniss des Lustspiel-Dichters Dryden zur 
. . . Mohtre. Landshut, 1887-88. 

Palmer, John, The Comedy of Manners. London, 1913. 

[Pepys, Samuel], The Diary of Samuel Pepys. Ed., with additions, by 
H. B. Wheatley. 10 vols., London, 1893-99. 

Perromat, Charles, William Wycherley, sa vie, son oeuvre. Paris, 

Perry, Henry Ten Eyck, The Comic Spirit in Restoration Drama. New 
Haven, Yale University Press, 1925. 

Pinto, V. de Sola, Sir Charles Sedley. London, Constable and Company, 

Quaas, Curt, William Wycherley als Mensch und Dichter. Rostock, 

Reihmann, Oskar, Thomas Shadwells Tragodte "The Libertine" und 
ihr Verhaltnis zu den vorausgehenden Bearbeitungen der Don Juan- 
Saga. Leipzig, 1904, 

Rosenfeld, Sybil, The Letterboo\ of Sir George Etherege* Oxford and 
London, 1928. 

Sandmann, Paul, "Moliere's ficole des femmes u. Wycherley 's Country 
Wife" Archiv fur das Studium der neuren Sprachen und Literaturen f 
LXXII (1884), 153-82. 

"Moliere, Wycherley u. Garrick." Archiv fur das Studium der 

neuren Sprachen und Liter aturen, LXXVII (1887), 47-84. 

Schmid, David, George Farquhar, sein Leben und seine Original- 
Dramen. "Wiener Beitrage zur Enghschen Philologie," Band XVHL 
Wien und Leipzig, 1904. 

William Congreve, sein Leben und seine Lustspiele. "Wiener 

Beitrage zur Englischen Philologie," Band VI. Wien und Leipzig, 


[Shadwell, Thomas], The Wor\s of Thomas Shadwell, Esq. 3 vols., 

London, 1720. 

Taine, H., Histoire de la literature anglaise. 8 e ed. Paris, 1892. 
Thackeray, W. M., "Congreve and Addison." In The English Humour- 
ists of the Eighteenth Century. New York, 1853. 
Thorndike, A. H., English Comedy. New York, 1929. 
Van Laun, Henri, "Les Plagiaires de Moliere en Angleterre." Le 

MoliSriste, II (1880-81); III (1881-82). 
The Dramatic Wor\s of Moliere Rendered into English. 6 vok, 

Edinburgh, 1875-76. 
Voltaire, Francois Marie Arouet de, Lettres sur les Anglais. In Oeuvres 

completes de Voltaire, Vol. V. Paris, Chez Firmin Didot Freres, 

Ward, A. W., A History of English Dramatic Literature. New and 

rev. ed., 3 vols., London, 1899. 
Wernicke, Arth., Das Verhaltnis von John Lacy's The Dumb Lady 

. . . zu Moliere's Le Medecm malgre lui und L 'Amour mcdecin. 

Halle, 1903. 
Wilson, John Harold, The Influence of Beaumont and Fletcher on 

Restoration Drama. "Ohio State University Studies in Languages 

and Literatures," No. IV. Columbus, The Ohio State University 

Press, 1928. 
Wood, Paul Spencer, "Native Elements in English Neo-Classicism." 

Modern Philology, XXIV (1926), 201-8. 
Wright, James, Historia Histnonica: An Historical Account of the 

English Stage. London, 1699. 

[Wycherley, William], The Posthumous Worlds of William Wycherley 
Esq.; in Prose and Verse. London, 1728. 


WORKS not classified under the two previous heads are listed here if I have 
cited them in the text or if I feel any vague obligation to them for a sug- 
gestion or a point of view. The tides referring to Moliere and those dealing 
with the principles of literary study are not presumed to be a bibliography 
of those subjects. 

Addison, Joseph, and Richard Steele, The Spectator. 4 vols., London, 


Arnold, Thomas, A Manual of English Literature. American ed., Bos- 
ton, 1876. 

Ashton, H., A Preface to Moliere. New York, 1927. 
Baldensperger, F., "Litterature comparee le mot et la chose." Revue 

de litterature compares, i re ann&e (Paris, 1921), pp. 1-29. 
Bock, Nathan, Molifre's Amphitryon in Verhaltnis zu seinen Vor- 

gangern. Marburg, 1887. 
Campbell, Oscar James, The Comedies of Holberg. "Harvard Studies 

in Comparative Literature," No. III. Cambridge, 1914. 
"Love's Labour's Lost Restudied." In Studies in Shakespeare, 

Milton, and Donne. "University of Michigan Publications, Language 

and Literature," Vol. 1, 1925. 

Chambers, E. K., The Elizabethan Stage. 4 vok, Oxford, 1923. 
Chatfield-Taylor, Hobart, Molifre, a Biography. New York, 1906. 
Clark, Barrett H., European Theories of the Drama. Cincinnati, 

Currier, T. F,, and E* L. Gay, Catalogue of the Moliere Collection in 

Harvard College Library. "Bibliographical Contributions. Library of 

Harvard University," No. 57. Cambridge, 1906. 
Dodge, R. E. Neil, "A Sermon on Source-Hunting." Modern Philology, 

IX (1911-12), 211-23. 

Doumic, Rene, Histoire de la litterature franfaise. Paris, 1917, 
Egan, M. F., "The Comparative Method in Literature." Catholic Uni- 
versity Bulletin, IX (1903), 332-46. 
Erdmann, H., Molibre's Psyche: Tragtdie Ballet im Vergleich zu den 

ihr vorangehenden Bearbeitungen der Psyche-Saga. Insterburg, 1892. 
Faguet, E., En lisant Moliere. Paris, 1914. 
Les Grandes Maitres du if sticlc, etudes litteraires et drama- 

tiques. Rev. ed., Paris, 1892. 
Fleay, Frederick Card, A Chronicle History of the London Stage, 1559- 

1642. London, 1890. 

Fournel, Victor, Les Contemporains de Moliere. 3 vols., Paris, 1863-75. 
Gayley, C. M., "What Is Comparative Literature?" Atlantic Monthly, 

XCII (1903), 56-68. 
Gendarme de Bevotte, Geo., Le Festin de pierre avant Moltire. Textes 

publics avec introduction, etc. Paris, 1907. 
Gundelfinger [pseud. Gundolf], F., Shakespeare und der deutsche 

Geist. Berlin, 1920. 


Humbert, Claas, Moliere, Shakespeare und die deutsche KritiJ^. Leip- 
zig, 1869. 
Hurd, Richard, "Dissertation III, On Poetical Imitation." In The Wor\s 

of Richard Hurd (8 vok, London, 1811), II, 109. 
"Dissertation IV, On the Marks of Imitation." In The Worlds of 

Richard Hurd (8 vols., London, 1811), II, 245. 
Jourdain, Eleanor F., An Introduction to the French Classical Drama. 

Oxford, Clarendon Press, 1912. 
Kohler, Pierre, Autour de Molifre. Paris, Payot, 1925. 
Lancaster, Henry C, A History of French Dramatic Literature in the 

Seventeenth Century. 6 vols*, Baltimore, The Johns Hopkins Press, 

Lang, Andrew, "Moliere." In Encyclopaedia Britannica t nth ed., 

Lanson, G., "Etudes sur les rapports de la litterature franjaise " 

Revue d'histoire litteraire, III (1896), 45-70. 
Lucas, F. E., Seneca and Elizabethan Tragedy. Cambridge, 1922. 
Manzius, Karl, Moliere, les thedtres, le fubhc et les comediens de son 

temps. Traduit du danois par M. Pellison. Paris, 1908. 
Marsh, A. R., "The Comparative Study of Literature." Publications of 

the Modern Language Association of America, XI (1906), 151-70. 
Mather, F. J., "Aspects of Comparative Literature." The Nation, 

LXXXII (1906), 256-57. 
Matthews, Brander, Mohfre, His Life and His Worfo. New York, 

Scribners, 1926. 
Meredith, George, "Essay on the Idea of Comedy and of the Uses of the 

Comic Spirit." In The Worfc of George Meredith, Vol. XXIII. 

Memorial Edition. London, 1910. 
Moland, Louis, Moliere, sa vie et ses outrages. Paris, 1887. 

Moliere et la comtdie itdienne. Paris, 1867. 

Molieriste, Le. Revue mensuelle. Paris, 1879-88. 

Monval, Georges, Chronologic Mohtresque. Paris, 1897. 

Morize, Andre, Problems and Methods of Literary History. Boston, 

Morley, Henry, A Manual of English Literature. Rev. by Moses Coit 

Taylor. New York, 1879. 

Oliphant, E. H. C., "How Not to Play the Game of Parallels." Journal 
of English and Germanic Philology, XXVIII (1929), 1-15. 


Palmer, John, Molifre, His Life and Worlds. London, G. Bell and Sons 
Ltd., 1930. 

Plautus with an English Translation by Paul Nixon. "The Loeb Clas- 
sical Library," 5 vols., New York and London, 1916. 

Posnett, H. M., "The Science of Comparative Literature." Contem- 
porary Review, LXXIX (1901), 855-72. 

Price, L. M., English-German Literary Influences. Bibliography and 
Survey. Berkeley, 1919-20. 

Renard, Georges, La Methode scientifique de I'histoire litteraire. Paris. 

Routh, H. V., "The Future of Comparative Literature." Modern Lan- 
guage Review, VIII (1913), 1-14. 

[Scott, Sir Walter], the Prose Worths of Sir Walter Scott. 28 vols., Edin- 
burgh, 1834. 

Smith, Winifred, "Italian and Elizabethan Comedy." Modern Philology, 

v (1908), 555-67- 

The Commedia dell' Arte. New York, 1912. 

Stoll, E. E., "Certain Fallacies and Irrelevancies in Literary Scholar- 
ship." Studies in Philology, XXIV (1927), 485-508. 

Terence with an English Translation by John Sargeaunt. "The Loeb 
Classical Library," 2 vols., London, 1912. 

Tilley, Arthur, Moli&re. Cambridge, University Press, 1921. 

Toldo, Pietro, L'Oeuvre de Molitre et sa fortune en Italic. Turin, 1910. 

Van Tieghem, Paul, La Literature comparee. Paris, Librane Armand 
Colin, 1931. 


Account of the English Dramatic^ Poets, 
An (Langbaine), i n, 46, 108, 136, 
148, 184, 197; plays containing borrow- 
ings, 1-2 n, defense of borrowers, 3, 49; 
quoted, 49, 127, 129, 136 

Adaptations, characteristics of, 35, 68 pas- 
sim, 87-94, 99-103. "8, 133, 141-42, 
145, 147, 169^., 198 

Adelphoe (Terence), 21 f. 

Adventures of Five Hours, The (Tuke), 

Aesop (Vanbrugh), 174 

Allen, Ned Bliss, 17 n, 36 n, 46 n, 107 n, 

All Mistaken (Howard), 186 

Almahide (Scude*ry), 6 

Amant indiscret, L' f (Quinault), 36 ff. 

Amants magmfiques, Les (Moliere), ion 

Amorous "Bigot, The (Shad well), 13 n, 
122, 125, 126, 181 

Amorous Prince, The (Behn), 187 

Amorous Widow, The (Betterton), i n, 
3n, 23-25, 35, 56-59, 68, 180, 183, 186 

Amour Medecin, L' (Mohere), 7n, i3n, 
50-51, 134, 149 

Amour peintre, U, see Le Stcihen ou 
V amour petntre 

Amphitryon (Dryden), in, 13 n, 114-16, 

Amphitryon (Mohere), in, 7n, 114-16, 
139 n, 181 

Amphitryon* of Moliere, Plautus, and 
Dryden, compared, 115 

Anatomist, The (Ravenscroft), 138 

Apulems, Lucius, Metamorphoses, 121 

Archer, William, 175 

Assignation, The, or Love in a Nunnery 
(Dryden), 113 

Astree, cult of, 112 

Astree, U (d'Urfe'), 6 

Astrologo fingido, El (Calderon), 108 

Atheist, The (Otway), ion, 145, 181 
Audiences, type fostering comedy of man- 
ners, 192, 193 

Aultilana (Plautus), 66, i82n 
"Au Voleur" (Moliere), 140, 142 
Avare, U (Moliere), 2 n, 7n, ion, i3n, 
32, 65-67, 68, 119, 133, 142, 180, 182 n 

Baker, David Erskine, 3 n 

Bandello, Matteo, 30 

Barbien, Nicolo, L'lnavvertito t 36 

Baron (pseudonym for Boyron, Michel), 

interpretation of Alceste, 101 
Bartholomew Fair (Jonson), 67 
Beaumont, Francis, and Fletcher, John, 

influence of, 14, 200, 201 
Beaux' Stratagem, The (Farquhar), 175- 

Behn, Mrs. Aphra, 130, 155; borrower 

from Moliere, i, 2, 146-50, 189, 190; 

acknowledgment of borrowing, 2, 146. 

PLAYS: The Amorous Prince, 187; The 

False Count, in, 3n, 149-50, 181; 

The Forced Marriage, i87n; Sir Patient 

Fancy, in, 7 n, 13 n, 146-49, 151, 


Bejart, Armande, 21 
Beljame, Alexandre, 11 
Bellamira (Sedley), 13011 
Bennewitz, Alexander, 9 
Betterton, Thomas, borrower from 

Moliere, i, 66, 184; The Amorous 

Widow, in, sn, 23-25, 35, 56-59, 68, 

1 80, 183, 1 86 
Bibliography, 217-27 
Blackfriars, theatre, 192 
Bergman, A. S., I7n, 125; quoted, 23 n, 

67, 120, 124 n 
Borrowings from Latin classics, 20, 21, 22, 

33, 66, 76, 87, 88, 114, 115, 130 n, 

135, 144, 161, 182 n 



Borrowings from Mohere, 1-17; lists of 
plays containing alleged borrowings, i, 
7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 1 80-8 1 ; acknowledg- 
ment by author, 2, 46, 54, 60, 114, 117, 
146, 150; distinguished from resem- 
blance, 19 ff.; principles for determining, 
20-29, 113 n, 119 n, 120 n; identifying 
peculiarities indicative of, 27-29; stand- 
ards of literary criticism applied to, 
29-34; the three headings, spirit, mat- 
ter, form, 29 ff.; criteria for determin- 
ing weight of influence, 31-34; evalua- 
tion of, in seven plays, 35-69; by minor 
dramatists, 127-53; against background 
of Restoration drama, 178-91; propor- 
tion of plays containing, 179, 190 n, 
198; chronological groupings, table, 
I9on; none from Moliere's dramatic 
form, 197; see also Influence; and indi- 
vidual borrowers, e.g., Wycherley, Wil- 

Bourgeois Gentilhomme, Le (Moliere), 
2 n, 7 n, 8 n, 13 n, 84, 131 ff., 134, 136, 
168, 180, 181 

Boursault, Edme, 175 

Brome, Richard, 35, 83, 87, 158, 194, 
195; City Wtt, 1 06; The Damoiselle, 
148; Mad Couple Well Matched, 106; 
The Sparagus Garden, 120 

Buckingham, George Vilhers, Duke of, 
see Vilhers, George 

Burbage, James, 192 

Bury Fatr (Shadwell), 2 n, 10, 13 n, 28, 
120, 122-25, 126, 181, 197, 198 

Butt, 92, 106, 132, 150, 158, 164; see also 

Calderon, Pedro, El Astrologo fingtdo, 

Campbell, Oscar James, viii, 21 n; quoted, 

in n 
Canterbury Guests, The (Ravenscroft), 

7n, 13 n, 131, 138, 181 
Careless Lovers, The (Ravenscroft), 2 n, 

13 n, 26, 131, 133-34, 138, 180, 188, 

Caroline drama, basis of Restoration plays, 


Cartwnght, William, 87 
Caryl, John, borrower from Moliere, i, 

66, 184; acknowledgment of borrowing, 

Caryl, John (Cont.) 

2, 54; Sir Salomon, or the Cautious 
Coxcomb, i n, 2, 3 n, 35, 53-56, 68, 
180, 183, 186 

Cassandre (La Calprenede), 6 

Cautious Coxcomb, The, see Sir Salomon, 
or the Cautious Coxcomb 

Cavendish, Margaret (Lucas), see New- 
castle, Margaret (Lucas) Cavendish, 
Duchess of 

Cavendish, William, see Newcastle, Wil- 
liam Cavendish, Duke of 

Cazamian, Louis, 81 

Chambers'* Encyclopaedia, 78 

Characters, technique of overdrawing, 12; 
stock, of Restoration comedy, isf.; 
similarity of French characters due to 
similarity of social types, 25; t; T pes 
ridiculed by Moliere, 196 

Charlanne, Louis, n, 135, i8an 

Charles II, 5, 6, 140; theatres encouraged 

by, 193 

Cheats, The (Wilson), 182 

Cheats of Scapin, The (Otway), 20, 34, 
144, 181, 188, 189 

Chronology, of Moliere's plays, 203-5; 
of Restoration comedies, 205-15 

Gibber, Colley, Love's Last Shift, 168; 
The Provoked Husband, 169 

Gibber, Theophilus, 3 n, 71 n 

City Wit (Brome), 106 

Classics, Latin, 20, 144; sec also Plautus; 

Clehe (Scudery), 6 

Cleopdtre (La Calprenede), 6 

Cocu imagtnaire, Le, see Sganarellc, ou 
le cocu imagtnaire 

Collier, Jeremy, 122, 123 

Comtdic-ballet, 131, 140, 196 

Comedy of Errors, The (Shakespeare), 33 

Comedy of humors, see Humors 

Comedy of manners, high artistic level; 
vogue due to Ethcrege, 70; war between 
the sexes an element in, 138, 201; high 
point and decline, 154; Congreve the 
perfect example of, 154, 161, 16*6; 
passing of, 175, 176; qualities demanded 
by spirit of the age, 185; description of, 
18511; anticipated by early Restoration 
plays, 1 86; early prototypes; basis for 
development of, 192; Jonson the 



Comedy of manners (Cont.) 

primary force, 193; see also Restoration 

Comedy of Manners, The (Palmer), vii, 

81; quoted, 13, 73, 175 
Comical Revenge, The (Etherege), 7 n, 

71-77, 81, 85 n; 107, 182, 185-86; 

realistic major plot, 73 n 
Comic decoration, 93, in, 122, 164 
Comic incident: Mohere as source of, 12, 

93, 198; Farquhar's effective use of, 

Comic spirit: French influence on, 5; no 

borrowings of, in early Restoration 

comedy, 185; of Restoration anticipated 

in earlier plays, 195 
Comic treatment of manners, audiences 

receptive to, 192 

Commedta dell* arte, 21 n, 36, 54, 144 
Committee, The (Howard), 179 
Commonplace: literary, 20-23; of the 

theatre, 23-25, 85; social, 25, 85, 192; 

of life, 26 
Comtesse d'Escarbagnas, La (Moliere), 

7n, 10 n, 13 n 
Conclusions, effect upon, of generalizing, 


Congreve, William, vii, 71, 73, 107, 122, 
129, 191; Thackeray on, 5; alleged bor- 
rower from Moliere, 7ff., ign, 154-67, 
176, 198; perfect example of comedy of 
manners, 154, 166; verbal wit, 157; atti- 
tude toward humors, 162; use of tradi- 
tional material, 165; influence of Mohere 
not discernible, 167 

PLAYS: The Double Dealer, 9, 10, 156- 
60, 164; Love for Love f 7 n, 9, ion, 
160-63, 169; The Old Bachelor, 9, 
154-56; The Way of the World, 7n, 9, 
ion, 102, 156, 163-66; see also Van- 
brugh, J Congreve, W., and Walsh 

Contemporary people portrayed on stage, 
12, 80 

Conventions of the theatre, see Common- 
place of the theatre 

Corneille, Pierre, 6; see also Moliere, 
Quinault, Philippe, and Corneille, Pierre 

Corneille, Thomas, Le Feint* Astrologue, 

Cornhill Magazine, The, 70 

Cornish Squire, The (Ralph), 175 

Country life, contempt for, 91, 123, 194 

Country Wife, The (Wycherley), 3 n, 8 n, 
10, 87-94* 98, 102, 137, 146 n, 169, 
180, 188, 189 

Country Wit, The (Crowne), in, 7 n, 
13 n I39-40> 143. 181, 188, 189 

Cowley, Abraham, 179; Cutter of Col man 
Street, 179; The Guardian, 179 

Cntique de Vecole des femmes, La 
(Mohere), 7n, 98, 181 

Crowne, John, 155, 156; borrower from 
Moliere, i, 13, 139-43, 188-89, ap- 
praisal of Mohere's influence upon, 143. 
PLAYS: The Country Wit, in, 7 n, 13 n, 
139-40, 143, 181, 188, 89; The Eng- 
lish Friar, 13 n, 141-42, 143, 181; 
The Married Beau, 13 n, 142; 
Si* Courtly Nice, in, 13 n, 140-41, 

Cuckolds, 92, 120, 137, 194 

Cutter of Colman Street (Cowley), 179 

Dametz, Max, quoted, i75n 
Damoiselle, The (Brome), 148 
Damoiselles a la Mode, The (Flecknoe), 

in, 3n, 7n, 35, 46-48, 68, 180, 183, 

184, 186 

Dancourt, Florent Carton, 175 
Dandy, see Fop 
D'Avenant, William, 87, 179, 184, 197; 

borrower from Moliere, i, 127-28, 181, 

182, 184; The Playhouse to Be Let, i n, 

20 n, 127-28, 180, 182, 184, 186, r87n 
Davis, Joe Lee, 83 n, 159 n, 193, 198; 

quoted, 16, 87 

Demase, Le (Tessonerie), no 
Dennis, John, 162 
Depit amoureux, Le (Moliere), in, 3 n, 

8n, ion, 31, 75, 77, 108, no-ii, 134, 

169-74, 1 80 

Devil Is an Ass, The (Jonson), 15 
Dobree, Bonamy, 167 n; quoted, 14, 157 n 
Don Juan, legend, 121 
Don Juan ou le festin de pierre (Moliere), 

2n, 7n, pn, ion, 112 n, 121, 180 
Dorset, Charles Sackville, Earl of, 73 
Double Dealer, The (Congreve), 9, 10, 

156-60, 164 
Double meanings, 93 
Dramatic form, no borrowings from 

Moliere, 197 

2 3 2 


Dryden, John, vu, 71, 83, 86, 87, 101, 
117, 120, 122, 155, 156, 157, 158, 161, 
197; borrower from Moliere, i, 2, 8, 12, 
13, 17, 19 n, 32, 105-17, 184, 188, 189, 
190; failure to acknowledge debt to 
Mohere, 2, 108, in; literary honesty 
attacked, 3, 108, credited with pattern- 
ing comedy of manners, 107; acknowl- 
edgment of borrowing, 114; place in 
literature not due to comedies; appraisal 
of Mohere's influence on, 116. 
PLAYS: Amphitryon, in, 13 n, 114-16, 
181; The Assignation, or Love in a 
'Nunnery, 113; An Evening's Love, or 
the Moc^ Astrologer, i n, 108, 114, 
116, 180, 183, 185, 186; The Kind 
Keeper, or Mr. Limber ham, 8n, H5n; 
Love Triumphant, 8n, 13 n, 115 n; 
Marriage a la Mode, 8 n, 112-13, 116, 
180, 187, 189; The 'Rival Ladies, 71 n, 
107-8; Secret Love, 108; Sir Martin 
Mar* All, i, 35-46, 68, 108-12, 116, 180, 
182, 183, 185-86, The Spanish friar, 
8n, 13 n, 115 n; The Wild Gallant, 35, 
105-7, 182, 185 

Dumb Lady, The (Lacy), 2 n, ion, 20 n, 
35, 48-53, 68, 180, 183, 186 

D'Urfey, Thomas, 130, 188, 189, 190 

tcole des femmes, L' (Mohere), in, 2 n, 
3n, 7n, 8 n, 9n, ion, 13 n, 46, 54- 
56, 68, 87-91, 94 n, 137, 146 n, 169, 
180, 181 

tcole des mans, U (Moliere), 2 n, 3 n, 
7n, 8n, 9n, ion, 13 n, 21, 27, 46 f, 
68, 84, 87, 89, 94 n, 112 n, 125, 129, 
130 n, 145, 169, 180, 181, 184 

Elizabethan drama, 197; as source of sub- 
ject-matter, 14; Restoration drama based 
on, 1 8 6; see also Pre-Restoration com- 

English, spoiled plays they borrowed, 3 

English Fnar, The (Crowne), 13 n, 141- 
42, 143, 181 

English Monsieur, The (Howard), 86, 186 

Epicoene, or the Silent Woman (Jonson), 
15, 112 

Epsom Wells (Shadwell), i3n, 119-20, 
122, 187, 189, 190 

Etherege, Sir George, 87, 107, 108, 154, 
156, 157* 158, 159, 185; alleged bor- 

Etherege, Sir George (Cont.) 

rower from Moliere, 8, 12, 19 n, 70-81, 
1 88, 189; style; influence on comedy of 
manners, 70 f ; acquaintance with Mo- 
liere's plays .assumed, 70; Moliere's in- 
fluence on, questioned, 70-80; Letter- 
boo\, 71, 72, 127, denial of Moliere's 
influence on, 81; criticized by Shad- 
well, 117 

PLAYS' The Comical Revenge, 7n, 71- 
77, 81, 85 n, 107, 182, 185-86, realistic 
major plot, 73 n; The Man of Mode, 
8n, 13 n, 25, 79, 85 n, 181, 188, 189; 
She Would If She Could, 8 n, 71 n, 78, 
81, 106, 120, 130 n, 183, 185-86 

Ethical satire, 159, 167, 198 

tourdi, L* (Mohere), in, 8 n, ion, 13 n, 
36fL, 68, 75, 108-12, 113 n, 128 n, 

Ennuchus (Terence), i3on 

Evening's Love, or the Moc\ Astrologer, 
An (Dryden), in, 108, 114, 116, 180, 
183, 185, 186 

Every Man in His Humor (Jonson), 15 

Every Man out of His Humor (Jonson), 15 

Fdcheux, Les (Moliere), 2 n, 8 n, ion, 
13 n, 117, 118, 146 n, 180, 181 

Fair Quarrel (Middleton), 106 

False Count, The (Behn), in, 3 n, 149- 
50, 181 

False Friend, The (Vanbrugh), 174 

Family as social unit, 66 

Farce, 17, 56, 57, 131, 145; Mohere as 
source of, 198 

Farce ballet, 131 

Farquhar, George, 7, 154, 191; borrower 
from Moliere, 175-77 
PLAYS: The Beaux' Stratagem, 175-76; 
Love and a Bottle, 7 n, 13 n 

Feint Astrologue, Le (Corneille), 108 

Female Vertuosoes, The (Wright), 3n, 
13 n, 150-52, 181 

Femmes savantes, Les (Mohfcre), 3 n, 9 n, 
10, 13 n, 123, 124, 149, 150-52, 181 

Fesftn de pterre, Le, see Don Juan ou le 
jestm de pterre 

Flecknoe, Richard, borrower from Mo- 
here, i, 46, 184; The Damoiselles a la 
Mode, 2 n, 3 n, 7 n, 35, 46-48, 68, 180, 
183, 184, 186 



Fletcher, John, 35, 73, 86, 87, 105, 166, 
i79> !93 r 94> 200 > 20 1 ; influence of, 
14. i5f- 

PLAYS- The Wild Goose Chase, 106, 
195; Wit at Several Weapons, 106 

Fop, 25, 26 n, 80, 133, 140, 165, 
167, 1 68; evolved from would-be, 16 

Forced Mamage, The (Behn), i87n 

Form, 29, 30; no borrowings from 
Moliere, 197 

Fourbenes de Scapin, Les (Mohere), 
2 n, 7 n, 9 n, 10 n, 13 n, 20 n, 135, 144, 
145 n, 146, 181 

France, Restoration comedy considered de- 
rived from, vn; literary material from, 
brought into England, 6 

French, blamed for questionable morality, 
5; influence on Restoration comedy, be- 
lief in importance of, 3 ff , 74 

Fnedensfest, Das (Hauptmann), 30 

Friendship in Fashion (Otway), 145 

Gabriel, Miriam, i65n 

Genest, John, 3 n, 54, 71 n 

Gentleman Dancing Master, The (Wycher- 
ley), 7n, 8 n, 83-87, 180, 187, 189 

George Dandin (Moliere), 3 n, 9 n, ion, 
56-58, 68, 1 80, 196 

Ghosts (Ibsen), 30 

Gil don, Charles, 3 n, 73 

Gillet, J. E., I9n, 20 n, 46 n, 78, 107 n, 
128 n; quoted, 77, 187 n 

Glapthorne, Henry, 87 

Godwin, William, 30 

Goethe, Johann Wolfgang, 29 

Goldsmith, Oliver, 71 

Gosse, Sir Edmund, 8, 9; Life of William 
Congreve, 9, 175 n; restores Etherege 
to rightful place, 70 jff.j misled in 
attributing Moliere influence to 
Etherege, 75 ff.; quoted, 74, 75, 76, 


Grand Cyrus, Le (Scudfry), 6 
"Great detector of plagiarism," i 
Guardian, The (Cowley), 179 
Gull, stock character, 15; gentleman, 16, 

92; country, 49, 106, 120, 132, 139, 

147, 151, 155, 164, 167, 169, 174; 

see also Butt 
Gwynn, Nell, 5, 201 

Hallam, Henry, quoted, 4 

"Handlist of Restoration Plays," viii, 205- 


Hartmann, Carl, quoted, 8 
Harvey-Jelhe, W., 77 
Hauptmann, Gerhardt, Das Friedensfest f 


Hazhtt, William, 4, 70 
Herder, Johann Gottfried von, 29 
Hickerson, William H., 15, 76 n, 106, 

128 n, 130 n; quoted, 16 
History of English Dramatic Literature, A 

(Ward), 1 88 
History of Restoration Drama t A (Nicoll), 

viii, 14 n, 143, 171 n, 182, 205; quoted, 

107, 185 n 
Horace, quoted, 165 
Howard, James, All Mistaken, 186; The 

Committee, 179; The English Mon- 
sieur, 86, 1 86 
Humorists, The (Shadwell), 13 n, 66, 119, 

183, 185-86 
Humorous Lovers, The (Newcasde), 119, 

Humors, 15, 17, 83, 86, 118, 120, 122, 

138, 139, 143, 158, 161, 182; defined; 

Congreve's attitude toward, 162 
Humor, proper subjects of, 163 
Hunt, Leigh, 4, n 
Hyde Par% (Shirley), 120 
"Hypnotism of the unique source," 20 n 

Ibsen, Henrik, Ghosts, 30 

Identifying peculiarities, 27-29, 76 

Immorality, 14, 93, 194 

Impromptu de Versailles, U (Moliere), 
20 n, 94 n, 128 n, 187 

Inavvertito, L' (Barbien), 36 

Indecency, Restoration comedy notable for, 

Influence- method for investigating liter- 
ary influence and sources, 18-34, 84 n; 
tracing of, 29-34; defined, 29; criteria 
for determining, 31-33, 71, 192; of pre- 
Restoration comedy, 35, 179, on Con- 
greve, i66f ; in light of total literature 
of period, 178; proportion of plays in 
which shown, 179; on the side of spirit, 
198, see also Borrowings, and individual 
borrowers, eg., Wycherley, William 

Influence of Moliere on Restoration Com- 
edy, The (Miles), vn, 12, i8n, 19 n, 



Influence of Mohcre on Restoration Comedy 


25, 55 n, 77, 78, 79, 83 n, 89 n, 115, 
122, 132, 135, 136, 141, 142, 143, 159* 
1 60; quoted 168, 169 

Jacob, Giles, 3n 

Jacobean drama, see Pre-Restoration com- 

Jacobean social attitudes carried into Res- 
toration comedy, 14 

Jalousie de Barbouille, La (Moli&e), 57 n 

Johnson, Samuel, quoted, i n 

Jonson, Ben, 16, 21, 35, 76, 83, 87, 88, 
zox, 117, I49> 158, I59 *6 r *$ 2 > l6 ^> 
179, 185 n, 194, 195, 196, 198, 200, 
201; "humors," 15, 83, 86, 120, 122, 
143, 182; primary force in comedy of 
manners, 15, 193; Shad well as imitator 
of, 117, 120, 126 

PLAYS: Bartholomew Fair, 67; The 
Devil Is an Ass, 15; Epicoene, or the 
Silent Woman, 15, 112; Every Man in 
His Humor, 15; Every Man out of His 
Humor, 15; Volpone, 102 

Journey to London (Vanbrugh), 169, 175 

Killigrew, Thomas, 87, 179; The Parson's 

Wedding, 79, 182, 186 
Kind Keeper, or Mr. Umberham, The 

(Dryden), 8n, ii5n 
Klctte, Johannes, 83, 94 n, 97 n, 99 n 
Kyd, Thomas, 30 

La Calprenede, Gautier de Costes de, Cos* 
sandre; Cleopdtre; Pharamond, 6 

Lacy, John: borrower from Molierc, i, 66, 
184; The Dumb Lady, 2n, ion, 20 n, 
35, 48-53, 68, 180, 183, 186; The Old 
Troup, 183 

Lady of Pleasure, The (Shirley), 79, 106 

Langbaine, Gerard, i n, 46, 108, 136, 148, 
184, 197; defense of borrowers, 3, 49; 
plays containing borrowings, 1-2 n; 
An Account of the English Dramatic^ 
Poets, i n; quoted, 49, 127, 129, 136 

Language, use by Mohere and Restoration 
dramatists contrasted, 157 

Latin classics, 20, 21, 22, 33, 36, 66, 76, 
87, 88, 114, 115, 130 n, 135, 144, 161, 
i82n; see also Plautus; Terence 

Le Sage, Alain Rene, 175 

Letterboo^ (Etherege), 71, 72, 157 
Libertine, The (Shad well), 2 n, 121, 126, 

180, 1 88 

Life of Dryden (Scott), 4 
Life of William Congreve (Gosse), 9 
Ltmberham, see Kind Keeper, or Mr. Lim- 

berham, The 

Literary commonplace, 20-23 
Literary criticism, standards applied to 

borrowings, 29-34 
Lodge, Thomas, 30 
London Cuckolds, The (Ravenscroft), 2 n, 

3n, 131, 136-37, 138, 181 
Louis XIV, 6 

Love and a Bottle (Farquhar), 7 n, 13 n 
Love for Love (Congreve), 7n, 9, ion, 

160-63, *69 
Love in a Wood, or, St. James Park. 

(Wycherley), 8 n, 82, 190 
Love's Last Shift (Cibber), 168 
Love Triumphant (Dryden), 8n, 13 n, 

115 n 
Love without Interest (Penkethman), 3n, 

152, 181 
Lynch, Kathleen M., 14, 15, 112, 160; 

quoted, 159 

Macaulay, Thomas Babmgton, 5, 10, n, 

100; quoted, 4 

Mad Couple Well Matched (Brome), 106 
Malade imaginaire, Le (Moliere), i n, 

ion, 13 n, 146-49, 151, 181 
Mamamouchi (Ravenscroft), 2 n, 131-33, 

138, 180, 187, 189 
Man of Mode, The (Etherege), 8 n, 13 n, 

25, 79, 85 n, 181, 188, 189 
Manage force, Le (Moliere), 2n, 3n, 

7n, 9n, 13 n, 115, 119 n, 135, 152, 


Marrmon, Shackerley, 87 
Marriage, realistic treatment of, 168 
Marriage a la Mode (Dryden), 8n, 112- 

13, 116, 180, 187, 189 
Married Beau, The (Crowne), 130, 142 
Marston, John, 101 
Matter (Stoff), 29; Congrcvc's use of 

traditional, 165; Moliere's sources, 196; 

of Moliere, used by Restoration play- 
wrights, 198 

Maxims, du manage, Les, 55 
Mayne, Jasper, 87 



Mcdbourne, Matthew, borrower from 
Moliere, i, 184; acknowledgment of 
borrowings, 60; Tartu ffe, or the French 
Puritan, 2n, 34, 35, 59-64, 68, 180, 
183, 184, 185, 186 

Medecin malgre lui, Le (Moliere), 2n, 
13 n, 46 n, 48-49* 68, 120 n, 134, 180 

Meindl, Vincent, 77, 78, 79; quoted, 80 n 

Meredith, George, quoted, 157 

Metamorphoses (Apulems), 121 

Method, of measuring influence of Moliere, 
18-34; f applying criteria to borrow- 
ings, 31-34 

Middle-class life, contempt for, 194 

Middleton, Thomas, 35, 83, 158, 194; 
Fair Quarrel, 106 

Midsummer Night's Dream (Shakespeare), 

Miles, Dudley H., The Influence of Mohere 
on Restoration Comedy, vii, 12, 18 n, 
19 n, 25, 55 n, 77, 78, 79, 83 n, 89 n, 
115, 122, 132, 135, 136, 141, 142, 143, 
159, 1 60; quoted, 168, 169 

Misanthrope, Le (Moliere), 2n, 7n, 
9n, 10, 13 n, 46 n, 94-102, 119 n, 
120 n, 181 

Miser, The (Shadwell), 2 n, 35, 65-67, 
68, 119, 126, 180, 187, 189 

Mistake, The (Vanbrugh), 169-74 

Hoc\ Astrologer, The, see Evening's Love, 
or the Moc% Astrologer, An 

Moliere (pseudonym for Jean-Baptiste 
Poquelin) ; beginning of Pansian period; 
first play borrowed from, i n; borrowers 
from, i; lists of comedies containing al- 
leged borrowings, i, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 
1 80 -8 1 ; late expression of the impor- 
tance of his influence, 3; contrasts with 
Restoration comedy emphasized, 4; 
called most significant influence on 
Restoration comedy, 6; studies of in- 
fluence of, on Restoration comedy, 7-17; 
influence brought contemporary types to 
English stage, 12; method of measur- 
ing influence of, 18-34; illustrative 
adaptations of, 35-69; qualities never 
appreciated by Restoration England, 59; 
attempt to grasp serious side of, 60, 184; 
idea of family as social unit, 66; in- 
fluence of, on the side of spirit, 68, 198; 
influence on Etherege questioned, 70, 80; 

Moliere (Cont.) 

contradictions in characters, 96; comedy 
of manners developed independent of, 
107; social attitude, 123; fullest under- 
standing of, 126; treatment by the 
minor borrowers, 153; wit contrasted 
with Congreve's, i57f; instinct for 
theatre, 164, 196; influence on late 
Restoration drama negligible, 176, 177; 
plays not borrowed from, 178-91; pro- 
portion of plays containing borrowings, 
179, 190 n, 198; influence surveyed, 
184-91; early Restoration plays inde- 
pendent of, 1 86; relation to Restoration 
comedy summarized, 192-201; attitude 
explained by own life, 195; dramatic 
matter analyzed, 196; no borrowings 
from dramatic form of, 197; influence 
as living artist, 199; effect of theatrical 
training on, 200; chronology, 203-5; scc 
also Borrowings from Mohere 
PLAYS: Les Amants magnifiques, ion; 
U Amour Medecin, 7n, I3n, 50-51, 
134, 149; Amphitryon, in, 7n, 114-16, 
139 n, 181; UAvare, 2 n, 7 n, 10 n, 13 n, 
32, 65-67 68, 119, 133, 142, 180, 182 n; 
Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme, 2 n, 7 n, 8 n, 
130, 84, 131 ff., 134, 136, 168, 180, 
181; La Comtesse d'Escarbagnas, 7 n, 
10 n, 13 n; La Critique de I'ecolc des 
femmes, 7n, 98, 181; Le Deptt 
amoureux, in, 3 n, 8 n, ion, 31, 75, 
77, 108, iio-n, 134, 169-74, 180; 
Don Juan ou le festin de pierre, 2 n, 
7n, 9n, ion, 112 n, 121, 180; L'tcolc 
des femmes, i n, 2 n, 3 n, 7 n, 8 n, 9 n, 
ion, 13 n, 46, 54-56, 68, 87-91, 94 n, 
137, I46n, 169, 1 80, 181; L'tcole des 
marts, 2 n, 3 n, 7 n, 8 n, 9 n, 10 n, 
13 n, 21, 27, 46 ff., 68, 84, 87, 89, 94 n, 
112 n, 125, 129, 130 n, 145, 169, 180, 
181, 184; L'Stourdi, in, 8 n, ion, 
13 n, 36 ff, 68, 75, 108-12, ii3n, 
128 n, 1 80; Les Facheux, 2 n, 8 n, ion, 
13 n, 117, 118, 146 n, 180, 181; Les 
Femmes savantes, 3 n, 9 n, 10, 13 n, 
123, 124, 149, 150-52, 181; Les Four- 
beries de Scapin, 2 n, 7n, 9 n, ion, 
13 n, 20 n, 135, 144, M5 n, 146, 181; 
George Dandin, 3 n, 9 n, ion, 56-58, 
68, 1 80, 196; L'lmpromptu de Ver- 

2 3 6 


Moliere (Cont) 

satttes, 20 n, 9411, 128 n, 187; La Ja- 
lousie dc Barbouille, 57 n; Le Ualade 
imaginaire, in, ion, 13 n, 146-49* I 5 I > 
181, Le Manage force, 2 n, 3 n, 7 n, 
pn, 13 n, 115, 119 n, 135, i5 2 > 181; 
Ltf Medean malgre lui, 2 n, 13 n, 46n, 
48-49, 68, 120 n, 134, 180; Le Misan- 
thrope, 2n, 7n, 9n, 10, 13 n, 46 n, 
94-102, 119 n, 120 n, 181; Monsieur de 
Pourceaugnac, 2 n, 7n, 8 n, 9n, ion, 
13 n, 26, 131, 132, 134, 139 n, 147, 
151, 180, 181, Les Precieuses ridicules, 
in, 2n, 7n, 8n, ion, 13 n, 23-25, 
28, 46 F., 56 n, 68, 75, 77, 80, 109, 
124, 134, 140, 142, 150, 168, 180, 181, 
184; La Pnncesse d'tlide, ion; Sgana- 
relle ou le cocu imaginaire, in, 2 n, 
7n, 8n, 46 n, 127, 128, 143, 145, 180, 
181; Le Sidhen ou I' amour peintre, 
i n, 139, 140; Le Tartuffe, 2 n, 8 n, 9 n, 
ion, 13 n, 32, 59-64, 68, 78, 94 n, 
112 n, 115 n, 139 n, 141-42, 143, 159, 
179 n, 1 80, 181 

Quinault, Philippe, and Corneille, 
Pierre, Psyche, 121, 180 

Moliere, His Life and Works (Palmer), 
quoted 96, 101 

Monsieur de Pourceaugnac, or Squire 
Trelooby (anonymous), 174 

Monsieur de Pourceaugnac (Moliere), 2 n, 
7n, 8n, 9n, ion, 13 n, 26, 131, 132, 
134, 139 n, 147, 151, 180, 181 

Montaigne, Michel Eyquem, Seigneur de, 

30, 33 
Morality, trend toward, 123, 159; school 

of, 167; introduction of, destroyed 

comedy of manners, 175; anti-moral 

comedies demanded, 185; of Mohere's 

plays, 195-96 
Moreto y Cabana, Agustf, No pued esser, 


Mueschke, Paul, viii, 168 n; quoted, 15 
Mulberry Garden, The (Sedley), 2 n, 27, 

83, 120, 129-30, 180, 183, 184, 185, 


Nabbes, Thomas, 87 
Nashe, Thomas, 101 

Newcastle, Margaret Cavendish, Duchess 
of, 124, 179 

Newcastle, William Cavendish, Duke of, 
87* 179; The Humorous Lovers, 119, 
186; The Triumphant Widow, 122, 188 

Nicoll, Allardyce, 143, 182; A History of 
Restoration Drama, viii, 14 n, 171 n, 
208; quoted, 107, 185 n 

No pued esser (Moreto), 140 

Nouveau Festin de pierre, Le (Rosimond), 

Old Bachelor, The (Congreve), 9, 154-56 
Old Troup, The (Lacy), 183 
Oldys, William, 73, 75; quoted, 72 
Orrery, Roger Boyle, Earl of, 71 n 
Otway, Thomas, borrower from Moliere, i, 
144-46, 189, The Atheist, ion, 145, 
181; The Cheats of Scapin, 2 n, 34, 144, 
1 8 1, 1 8 8, 189; Friendship in Fashion, 
145; The Soldiers' Fortune, 7n, 145, 
Ozell, John, translator of Moliere, 175 

Palmer, John, The Comedy of Manners, 

vu, 81; quoted, 13, 73, 175; Moliere, 

His Life and Works, quoted, 96, 101 
Parallel texts, indicative of borrowing, 20, 

37; compared, 38-45. 50-53, i?o-73 
Parson's Wedding, The (Kilhgrew), 79, 

183, 1 86 

Peculiarities, identifying, 27-29, 76 
Penkethman, William, 152; Love without 

Interest, 3 n, 152, 181 
Pepys, Samuel, 193 
Perromat, Charles, 83 n, 91 n; quoted, 84, 

85 n, 89 n, 99 

Perry, Henry Ten Eyck, quoted, 174 
Pharamond (La Calprenede), 6 
Phormio (Terence), 135 
Pilgrim, The (Vanbrugh), 174 
Plain Dealer, The (Wycherley), 2 n, 7 n, 

94-102, 181, 188, 189 
Platonism, 112, 113 
Plautus, 20, 33, 76, 114, 115, 161; Au- 

lulana, 66, i82n 
Playhouse to Be Let, The (D'Avenant), 

in, 20 n, 127-28, 180, 182, 184, 186, 

187 n 

Playwright's methods, 199 
Plot, slight influence o Molifcre's, 12; 

characteristic, of Restoration comedy, 14; 

borrowing from, unimportant, 30; 



Plot (Com.) 

Moliere's, confused in adaptation, 68; 
complicated structure of English, 73, 

Poquehn, Jean-Baptiste, see Mohere 
Precteuses ridicules, Les (Mohere), i n, 
2 n, 7 n, 8 n, 10 n, 13 n, 23-25, 28, 
46 ff., 56 n, 68, 75, 77, 80, 109, 124, 
134, 140, 142, 150, 168, 180, 181, 

Preciocity, 23-24, 48, 112-13, I2 4 
Pre-Restoration drama, as basis of Restora- 
tion comedy, 14 ff, 35, 105, 186; in- 
fluence on Congreve, 1 66 f . ; dramatists 
still writing in Restoration period, 179; 
Restoration comedy a continuation of, 
126, 194 

Pretenders, contempt for, 194 
Pnncesse d' hde, La (Mohere), ion 
Problem play, 167 
Projectors, The (Wilson), i82n 
Provoked Husband, The (Gibber), 169 
Provoked Wife, The (Vanbrugh), 169, 

Psyche (Mohere, Qumault and Corneille), 

121, 180 

Psyche (Shadwell), 121, 180 
Puritanism, 64 

Qumault, Philippe, UAmant indtscret, 
36 ff., 68; see also Mohere, Qumault and 

Rabelais, Francois, 30 

Racine, Jean Baptiste, 6 

Rake, 133, 139, 155, 195 

Ralph, William, The Cornish Squire, 175 

Rambouillet, Marquise de, 112 

Rambouillet, H6tel de, 23, 112 

Randolph, Thomas, 87 

Ravenscroft, Edward, 155, 158; borrower 
from Mohere, i, 13, 130-38, 189, 190, 
200; uninspired adaptations, 133, 
appraisal of Moliere's influence on, 138 
PLAYS: The Anatomist, 138; The Can- 
terbury Guests, 7 n, 13 n, 131, 138, 
181; The Careless Lovers, 2 n, I3n, 26, 
I3* i33-34> I38> 180, 188, 189; The 
London Cuckolds, 2 n, 3 n, 131, 136-37, 
138, 181; Mamamouchi, 2 n, 131-33, 
138, 180, 187, 189; Scaramouch, 2n, 

Ravenscroft (Cont) 

7n, 131, 135-36, 138, 152, 181; The 
Wrangling Lovers, 3 n, 131, 134-35 

Rawlms, Thomas, borrower from Mohere, 
i, 143-44, *89; Tom Essence, 2 n, 143, 
181, 188, 189; Tunhidge Wells, 120, 

Realism, 17, 22, 117, 120, 168, 182, 192 

Rehearsal, The (Vilhers), 187, 190 

Relapse, The (Vanbrugh), 13 n, 167-69, 

Resemblance and borrowing, difference be- 
tween, 19 

Restoration comedy, background, 1-17; 
lists of plays containing alleged bor- 
rowings, i, 7, 8, 9, 12, 13, 1 80-8 1 ; 
no early expression of Mohere's in- 
fluence on, 3; contrasts with Mohere 
emphasized, 4; neglected in Victorian 
period, 5; studies of Moliere's in- 
fluence on, 7-17; independent develop- 
ment reiterated, 10; peculiar distinction 
of, 12; attitude of critics on French in- 
fluence, 13, 74, source in pre-Restora- 
tion materials, 14, 15, 179, 186; im- 
morality, 14, 93, 194; principal charac- 
ter types, 1 6; failure to understand or 
respect Mohere, 68, characteristics, 73; 
borrowed characters adapted to type of, 
89 ff ; development of pattern, 107; 
social norm abandoned by Shadwell, 
123; plays not showing Mohere in- 
fluence, 178-91; effect on, of pre- 
Restoration dramatists writing in Res- 
toration penod, 179; proportion of 
plays containing borrowings, 179, 190 n, 
198; plays, 1660-1670, 179-86; first play 
to suggest comedy of manners, 182; 
foreign elements assimilated, 185; early, 
anticipated comedy of manners, 186; 
plays, 1670-1676, 186-90, 1677-1700, 
190-91; grouping of plays by amount 
of borrowing, table, 190 n, relation of 
Mohere to, summarized, 192-201, con- 
tinuation of pre-Restoration; notable 
qualities, 194; chronology, 205-15; see 
also Comedy of manners 
Rival Ladies, The (Dryden), 71 n, 107-8 
Rochester, John Wihnot, 2d Earl of, 73, 

I57 193 
Romantic comedy, 122, 123 

238 INDEX 

Rosimond, Claude La Rose, Sieur de, Lc 

Nouveau Festin de picrrc, 121 
Rump, The (Tatham), 179 

Sackville, Charles, Earl of Dorset, 73 

St. James Park., see Love in a Wood, or 

St. James Park. 
Saintsbury, George Edward Bateman, 

quoted, 115 
Satire, Moliere's, 54, 58, 59 67; social, 

84, 159, 161, 162, 167, 192 .; ethical, 

159, 167, 198 
Scaramouch . . . (Ravenscroft), 2 n, 7 n, 

I3 1 * 135-36, 138, i5 2 > *8i 
Schelling, Felix, 80 
Scott, Sir Walter, u, 115; quoted, 4; 

Life of Dryden, 4 

Scowrers, The (Shad well), 1311, 122 
Scudery, Madeleine de, 113; Almahide; 

Clelie; Le Grand Cyrus, 6 
Secret Love (Dryden), 108 
Sedley, Sir Charles, 73, 87, 117, 155, 156, 

157, 161; borrower from Moliere, i, 

129-30, 184, 190; appraisal of Moliere's 

influence upon, 130 

PLAYS: Bcllamira, 130 n; The Mulberry 

Garden, 2n, 27, 83, 120, 129-30, 180, 

183, 184, 185, 186 
Sensibility, moral, 176 
Sensibility, School of, 167 
Sexes, war between, 14, 138, 201 
Sex morality of Moliere, 196 
Sganarelle ou le cocu imaginaire (Mo- 

liere), i n, 2 n, 7 n, 8 n, 46 n, 127, 128, 

143, 145, 180, 181 
Shadwell, Thomas, 155, 157, 158, 161, 

197; borrower from Moliere, i, 2, 10, 

13, 17, 105, 117-26, 184, 188, 189, 

190, 198; acknowledgment of borrow- 

ing, 2, 65, 117; abandons social norm of 

Restoration play, 123; appraisal of Mo- 

liere's influence upon, 126 

PLAYS: The Amorous Btgot, i3n, 122, 

125, 126, 181; Bury Fair, 2n, 10, 13 n, 
28, 120, 122-25, 126, 181, 197, 198; 
Epsom Wells, i3n, 119-20, 122, 187, 
189, 190; The Humorists, 13 n, 66, 119, 
183, 185-86; The Libertine, 2 n, 121, 

126, 180, 188; The Miser, 2n, 35, 65- 
67, 68, 119, 126, 180, 187, 189; Psyche, 
121, 180; The Scowers, 13 n, 122; The 

Shadwell, Thomas (Cont.) 

Squire of Alsatia, 13 n, 21-23, 122; 

The Sullen Lovers, 2 n, 7n, 117-19, 

126, 180, 183, 185; The Virtuoso, 

13 n, 122, 123, 189, 190; The 

Volunteers, 13 n, 122; The Woman 

Captain, 130, 122 
Shakespeare, William, 35, 200; as bor- 

rower, 30; The Comedy of Errors, 33; 

Midsummer Night's Dream, 193; The 

Tempest, 33; Twelfth Night, 193 
Shaw, George Bernard, on the playwright's 

methods, 199 n 
Shelley, Percy Bysshe, 30 
Sheridan, Richard Brinsley, 71 
She Would If She Could (Etherege), 

8n, 71 n, 78, 81, 106, 120, 1300, 183, 

Shirley, James, 35, 77. 87, 158, 179, 194, 

195, 201; relation to predecessors, 15 

PLAYS: Hyde Park 120; The Lady of 

Pleasure, 79, 106; The Wttty Fair One, 

Sicilien ou V amour peintre, Le (Moliere), 

in, 139, 140 
Silent Woman, The, see Epicoene, or the 

Silent Woman 
Sir Courtley Nice (Crownc), i n, 13 n, 

140-41, 181 
Sir Martin Mar- All (Dryden), i, 35-46, 

68, 108-12, 116, 180, 182, 183, 185- 

Sir Patient Fancy (Behn), in, 70, 13 n, 

146-49, 151, 181 
Sir Salomon, or the Cautious Coxcomb 

(Caryl), i n, 2, 3 n, 35, 53-56, 68, 180, 

183, 186 

Social commonplace, 25, 85, 192 
Social pretender, 16, 23-25, 87, 120, 158, 

167, 195 
Social satire, 84, 159, 161, 162, 167; 

growth of interest in, 192 f. 
Social standards, Jonson characters re- 

lated to, 15 
Soldier's Fortune, The (Otway), 7 n, 145, 


"Sons of Ben," 17, 48, 87, 126, 193 n 
Spanish Friar, The (Dryden), 8n, 130, 

Spanish theatre, influence, 4, 86, 134, 140 
Sparagus Garden, The (Bromc), 120 



Spirit (Gehalt), 29 

Squire of Alsatia, The (Shadwell), 13 n, 

21-23, 122 
Squire Trelooby (Vanbrugh, Congreve, and 

Walsh), 174 

Stapylton, Sir Robert^ 179 
Stock situations and plots, 14 
"Stop Thief," 140 n 
Sullen Lovers, The (Shadwell), 2 n, 7 n, 

117-19, 126, 180, 183, 185 

Taine, Hippolytc, 10, u, 100 

Tartuffe, Le (Mohere), 2 n, 8 n, 9 n, 10 n, 

13 a 32, 59-64, 68, 78, 94 n, ii2n, 

115 n, 139 n, 141-42, 143, 159, 179 n, 

i 80, 181 
Taruffe, or the French Puntan (Med- 

bourne), 2n, 24, 35, 59-64, 68, 180, 

183, 184, 185, 186 
Tatham, John, The Rump, 179 
Tempest, The (Shakespeare), 33 
Terence, 20, 76, 87, 88; Adelphoe, 21, 22, 

23 n; Eunuchus, 130 n; Phormio, 135 
Tessonerie, Gillct de la, Le Deniase, no 
Thackeray, William Makepeace, quoted, 

Tom Essence (Rawlins), 2n, 143, 181, 

188, 189 
Triumphant Widow, The (Newcastle), 122, 

True-wit, 15, 37, 87, 92, 123, 158, 160, 

164, 165, 167 
Tuke, Sir Samuel, The Adventures of Five 

Hours, 86 

Tunbndge Wells (Rawlins), 120, 144 
Twelfth Night (Shakespeare), 193 

Urfe, Honor6 d', UAstree, 6 

Valet, as manipulator of plots, 76, 144 
Vanbrugh, Sir John, 154, 191; borrower 
from Mohere, 167-75, 176; translations 
of French plays, 175 
PLAYS: Aesop, 174; The False Friend, 
174; Journey to London, 169, 175; The 
Mistake, 169-74; The Pilgrim, 174; The 
Provoked Wife, 169, 175; The Relapse, 
13 n, 167-69, 181; and Congreve, Wil- 
ham, and Walsh, Squire Trelooby, 174 
Van Laun, Henri, 7, 9, 13, 134, 135 n, 
136; quoted, 139 n, 141 

Van Tieghem, Paul, i8n, 21 n, 33 n 
Villiers, George, Duke of Buckingham, 73, 

189; The Rehearsal, 187, 190 

Virtuoso, The (Shadwell), 13 n, 122, 

123, 189, 190 
Volpone (Jonson), 102 
Voltaire, Francois Mane Arouet de, quoted, 

3, 99 n, 100 
Volunteers, The (Shadwell), 13 n, 122 

Walsh, William, see Vanbrugh, J., Con- 
greve, W. 

War between the sexes, 14, 138, 201 

Ward, Adolphus William, n, 78, 79, 135, 
136; quoted, 48, 84; A History of Eng- 
lish Dramatic Literature, 188 

Ward, W. C, 99 n; quoted, 98 

Way of the World, The (Congreve), 7 n, 
9, ion, 102, 156, 163-66 

Wild Gallant, The (Dryden), 35, 105-7, 
182, 185 

Wild Goose Chase, The (Fletcher), 106, 


Wilson, John, The Cheats, 182; The Pro- 
jectors, i82n 

Wilson, John H., 14; quoted, 14 n 
Wit, a stock character, 15, 16, 83, 106, 
120, 123, 156; Dryden the creator of 
town type, 107; outstanding Restoration 
practitioners; Congreve's style, 157, Eth- 
ndge's grace, 73; see also True-wit; 
Woman, witty 
Wit at Several Weapons (Fletcher), 


Witty Fair One, The (Shirley), 106 
Woman, witty, 15, 16, 92, 106, 119, 133, 

152, 195 
Woman Captain, The (Shadwell), 13 n, 


Would-be, 15, 1 6, 83, 92, 122 
Wrangling Lovers, The (Ravenscroft), 3 n, 

131, 134-35 

Wright, Thomas, borrower from Mohere, 
150-52, 190; acknowledges borrowing, 
150; The Female Virtuosoes, 3 n, 13 n, 
150-52, 181 

Wycherley, William, vii, 71, 123, 154, 
J 56, 157* 158, 159, 161; borrower from 
Mohere, i, 2, 8, 9, 12, 17, 19 n, 82- 
104, 1 88, 189, 190, 198; acknowledges 
borrowing, 2, 103; acquaintance with 

240 INDEX 

Wycherley (Cont.) Wycherley (Cont.) 

Moliere's works, 84; use of borrowed 87-94, 98, 102, 137, 1460, 169, 180, 

matter, 88 if.; dramatic genius, most 188, 189; The Gentleman Dancing 

sparkling comedy, 93; immoral tone of Master, 7n, 8 n, 83-87, 180, 187, 189; 

plays result of realism, 100; analysis of Love in a Wood, or St. James Par%, 8 n[ 

Mokere's influence on, 103 82, 190; The Plain Dealer, 2 n, 7n,' 

PLAYS: The Country Wife, 3n, 8n, 10, 94-102, 1 8 1, 1 8 8, 189